At “Iraq Matters,” Taif Jany interviews Iraqi poet Amal al-Jubouri, who was recently in Washington, DC as part of “Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” 2016:

iraq_mattersAl-Jubouri, author of Hagar Before the Occupation, Hagar After the Occupation, trans. into English by Rebecca Gayle Howell and Husam Qaisi, published her first poetry collection in Iraq in 1986. Before that, in 1984, she describes herself as a young girl — 16 or 17 — at a poetry festival.

It was at that festival that I lost my voice. My brothers were teenagers and I heard that they wanted to kill me, just because I participated at the festival. I was afraid…and as a result, I lost my voice.

But my voice came back when the great poet Nizar al-Qabbani intervened after the festival, and told Saddam’s government that when he got married in 1963, Iraq was an open-minded society. So why in 1984, is one young female…

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