New translation of Kurdish poet Nali published in Sulaimani

A new English translation of the work of classical Kurdish poet Nali was published in Sulaimani on Thursday, September 30.

Launched at a ceremony to mark International Translation Day, the new bilingual volume is the product of years of work by the poets, translators, and editors at Kashkul, a research, translation, and preservation collaborative based at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.

Born in 1800 in Sharazur, Nali is one of the preeminent poets of the Kurdish classic period. Writing in Sorani Kurdish alongside Salim and Kurdi, his work has influenced generations of Kurdish poets and artists and enjoys a close connection with Sulaimani city.

The new book, which contains poems translated by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse, Shene Mohammed, Tyler Fisher, and Haidar Khezri, is the first in a series of introductions to the work of Kurdish classical poets being translated at Kashkul.

Editor David Shook said in the introductory material of the volume that the collection is not intended to be the definitive word on Nali, but offers readers an entry point to the work of the great master, his contemporaries, and the poets they inspired.

"I believe such samplings are an important first step in what I hope will become a fuller and more fully representative international presence for Kurdish literature, whose vast riches are still relatively unknown outside the borders of Kurdistan,” Shook added.

Jiyar Homer, who took part in the work as the supervisor of the revision of the English translation and the Kurdish texts, said in a post on Facebook that he is proud of the work, saying that he hoped that the light of the Kurds’ moon always shines.

In 2019, Sulaimani became a UNESCO City of Literature, recognizing its long association with important Kurdish poets and its reputation as the Kurdistan Region’s "Capital of Culture.”

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