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.