The Kurdish writer Choman Hardi's poetry telling the stories of the survivors of genocide has been nominated to win the Forward prizes for best poetry collection in the United Kingdom. PUKmedia has conducted an interview with Dr. Choman Hardi on this matter.
Dr Choman Hardi is a nominee to win the Forward prizes:
Hardi said Forward prizes are one of the biggest prizes in England and is conducted annually. “I am one of the shortlisted candidates to receive the prize.”
The competition is among five contestants:
She said that the event would take place on June 20, 2016, and one of the five candidates would be selected to win the prizes.
“Poetry as reportage” talks about the stories of female survivors of genocide in Kurdistan-Iraq
She stated “as a Kurdish female writer, I participated by my book “Poetry as reportage” which talks about the female survivors of genocide in Kurdistan-Iraq (Anfal.)” Dr. Choman said that she conducted a long research from 2005 to 2010 about the survivors of Anfal. Later, she made an English book out of the research published it in England.
The book has great possitve influence on the Kurdish nationality:
She said, the research tells the stories and setbacks of the Kurdish females after the Anfal genocide; the chemical attack by the former Iraqi regime is reflected in the eyes of a woman. Mass grave is reflected in the eyes of two women each of who lost a 15 years son. A mass grave is exhumed where a 15 years kid is buried in; each is trying to prove that the corpse is hers to end her long wait for her son or at least to have a grave for consolidation.
Another example of the book is the Dubiz Prison, where only women and kids arrested in, or Nugra Salman prison, where the elders were in, or the story of a rescued kid in a mass grave.
Dr. Choman stated that all those stories are national episodes of Kurds, and they are very influential in introducing the Kurdish nationality to all over the world, and that is why “this achievement is not only a private achievement for myself but rather it is a national one.”
She started writing poets in English in 2000:
She told PUKmedia that she went to England when she was 19 and started learning English from that time on. Later, she started writing poems in English; she used to write poems in Kurdish before she went to England.
Dr. Choman wants to convey the stories of Anfal to as many readers as possible:
“It is a great prestige and privilege for me to be nominated in Forward prizes in England, but more importantly is to convey the book or the stories of the women within the book to most readers so that we can let the world know the stories of our nation, and I believe that it is more important than being a candidate or win the prizes,” Dr. Choman stated.
England welcomes foreign poets:
The poet also said, “This tells another fact about England; it accepts differences and it is a country that believes that other peoplefrom different cultures who live in England could promote English literature, culture and poetry. I was very happy to hear the announcement because as it is clear that the past two years were full of disasters and unpleasant situations for the Kurds.”
The candidates are formally announced
She finally said that a couple weeks before it was formally announced, she was told the news and asked not to reveal the announcement. Recently, the forward Prizes through Thegurdian declared the shortlists for the 2016 Forward prizes.
“Hardi, who was born in Kurdistan and sought asylum in the UK in 1993, was picked for Considering the Women, a collection Booker called “poetry as reportage”. The book draws from her postdoctoral research into female survivors of genocide in Kurdistan-Iraq, with its central sequence telling the stories of survivors of the Anfal campaign in the 1980s. “You do not die! Not when you want to,” she writes in her poem Dibs Camp, the Women's Prison. “Not when your son withers in your lap / and he cries until he can no more, when the last thing / he asks of you is ‘cucumber, and you give him / a green slipper to suckle on, because he is beyond // knowing the difference.”
Dr. Chman Hardi is now an English lecture and the English Department chair of the American university of Iraq-Sulaimani.
Here is an excerpt from her poem Dibs Camp, the Womens Prison:
You do not die! Not when you want to
Not when your son withers in your lap
and he cries until he can no more, when the last thing
he asks of you is ‘cucumber, and you give him
a green slipper to suckle on, because he is beyond
knowing the difference.
By Rizgar H. Qasim