How Mahmoud Darwish Inspired a Poetry Movement in Assam, India

On March 10, Assamese poet-translator Shalim M Hussain was scheduled to talk at the London Book Fair about “Displaced Voices: Translating Writing by Refugee and Exiled Authors” with several other panelists:

The fair didn’t happen, but — with help from session organizer Literature Across Frontiers and sponsors Arts Council England and Amazon Crossing — Shalim M Hussain and fellow would-be-panelist M Lynx Qualey got together to discuss his work.

The off-LBF, off-Bulaq podcast below explores the Miyah poetry movement that was sparked in April 2016 when poet Hafiz Ahmed composed “Write Down I Am a Miyah,” inspired in part by Mahmoud Darwish’s “ID Card,” and shared it on social media.

Hussain followed with his own poem, “Nana I Have Written,” and around thirty other poets have since joined the movement.

Hussain is currently at work on a bilingual (English-Assamese) collection of Miyah poems, set to be published later this year or early 2021.

The discussion:

Read a few of the Miyah poems, translated by Shalim M Hussain.

Tomorrow, a discussion with would-be panelist Omid Tofighian.