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Trying Again to Stop Time

Selected Poems

Jalal Barzanji

Canadian Studies, Poetry

Published: February 2015
ISBN: 9781772120431
Pages: 128 Size: 5.25x9

"One morning,
long ago,
juice from an apple
dripped onto my words,
leaving them stained forever." – From "A Soulful Sunshine"

Jalal Barzanji’s poetry willingly mutates his native Kurdish experiences into the global. In the tradition of Taslima Nasrin, Adonis, Yehuda Amichai, and Mahmoud Darwish, he speaks with the authority of exile, of the tension that exists between home and an adoptive land, of that delicate dance of defiance in the face of censorship and oppression. Barzanji’s poetry is infused with the richness of the Middle East, but underneath, there are also strands of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and T.S. Eliot. It is here, in these moments where language and culture collide and co-operate that Barzanji finds a voice that, in its insistence on remaining true to itself, carves out a strong voice of opposition to political oppression. Barzanji will draw readers to his work again and again, the way in which we return to a favourite canvas.

Jalal Barzanji is a highly respected Kurdish poet and journalist. Since 1970 he has published seven books of poetry and numerous critical columns. After his two-year imprisonment by Saddam Hussein’s regime in the late 1980s and further political repression into the 1990s, Barzanji and his family fled to Turkey, eventually immigrating to Edmonton, Canada.

Sabah A. Salih is a professor of English at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.

Nice, intimate, vertical format that works beautifully for the poems, with a simple typographical palette...

– Benjamin Shaykin (juror), Association of American University Presses: Book, Jacket, and Journal Show 2016