As American poets who have committed our lives to free expression, we are devastated by the attacks on our fellow poets and writers in Iran. While the horrific news of the attacks of women and girls, and indeed on men and boys, has been publicized, the attacks on these Iranian poets and writers has not been fully reported. We are grateful to poet and activist Sepideh Jodeyri for sending us this long list, compiled by an Iranian poet. Chillingly long. We call out to these poets and writers: we see you, we care, we stand with you, we want to read your future works. Poetry matters — in the U.S. and in Iran. The imprisonment of these Iranian literary artists is an attack on all of us.
Atefeh Chaharmahalian (poet, a member of the board of committee of Iran’s Writers Association, and social activist) / arrested by security forces in Tehran on October 3, 2022 and is being held in Ward 209 of the notorious Evin Prison. She has been denied the right to have a lawyer and her bail request has been rejected. She has been reported to be under pressure for forced confessions, causing considerable worries about her well-being.
Mary Douglas reminds us that sorcery and witchcraft, which she identifies as “pollution powers” (not toxins, but powers viewed systemically as problematic because of their transgressive nature) occur “where the lines of structure, cosmic or social, are clearly defined” (136). Queerness, as a construct, is made possible by the not-queer. The bipolar spectrum of sexuality and gender — man and woman — recognized for centuries by mainstream, white hegemony has made possible an articulation of the interstices between.
Reviews editor Orchid Tierney returns with capsule reviews of Bamboophobia by Ko Ko Thett, Air Raid by Polina Barskova, and Togetherness by Wo Chan. From the Ko Ko Thett review: “The collection includes thirteen poems Ko Ko Thett had written and translated himself from the Burmese, but arguably this is entirely a work of translation. The poet compellingly demonstrates the fuzziness of language to convey its atmospheric social and political nuances: ‘Come morning, we say, “Have you eaten?” to / celebrate the day, for we are still here.’”
Reviews editor Orchid Tierney returns with capsule reviews of Bamboophobia by Ko Ko Thett, Air Raid by Polina Barskova, and Togetherness by Wo Chan.