The Blog

"Two Visitors" by Abdulla Pashew

TIR staff

Translated from the Kurdish by Mewan Nahro, Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse, and the author

I host a dusky visitor
I do not dare picture her as my motherland
but she is as sweet
Her voice is the shelter of an arbor
and the meadow of her breast
smells of sweet clover 

In the corner
an idea crouches
undoes its braids
and combs them, stroke after stroke
stealthily, deliberately
cutting through the haze of my depths
like Gathas’ beams 

Oh, God
Two lovers
in the same moment? 


The Gathas are 17 hymns that were composed by Zarathustra. They are sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion in the Kurdistan region. 


Galway Kinnell's "Fisherman," from the archives

TIR staff

Solitary man, standing
on the Atlantic, high up on the floodtide
under the moon, hauling at nets
which shudder sideweays under the mutilated darkness:
the one you hugged and slept with so often,
who hugged you and slept with you so often,
who has gone away now
into that imaginary moonlight
of the greater world, perhaps looks back at where you stand abandoned
on the floodtide, hauling at nets
and dragging from the darkness
anything, and feels tempted to walk over
and touch you
and speak
from that world to which she acquiesced so suddenly dumbfounded
but instead she only sings
in the sea-birds and breeze that you imagine you remember but that you truly hear
as the dawn breaks in streaks across the fish-flashed water.

"You think" by Abdulla Pashew

TIR staff

Translated from the Kurdish by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse and the author

You think
my poems
are simple as roadside stones
You think
my words
are not astronauts, but earthbound children
What can I do, my heart?
Images and thin ideas
shimmer for a moment
and die like fireflies
in the black nights of gardens and orchards
I can only catch those
which tire and fall
like autumn leaves  


Nathaniel Mackey reading 10/30!

TIR staff
National Book Award-winning poet (and recent TIR contributor!) Nathaniel Mackey will read from his work this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Coe College's Kesler Auditorium. He will also participate in a Q&A session moderated by Iowa Review senior poetry editor Nick Twemlow. There will be a dessert reception afterward, and books will be available for purchase and to be signed. 
Mackey's "Song of the Andoumboulou: 108" appears in The Iowa Review's fall 2014 issue.


Russell Scott Valentino

Under the influence of having just completed this book—and let me note at the outset that the influence is hard to resist—I feel like I could start just about anywhere in reviewing it, so why not a footnote. There is just one in the book, but what a footnote, extending over two pages, explicative, digressive, apt, entertaining, and, best of all, delivered in the voice of the translator, Alyson Waters. We can say more (since, too impatient to wait for the French book to arrive in the mail, I wrote to the translator to ask): what in the world could the author have written in French that would translate so well into such a translator’s note? Answer: nothing at all! Or next to nothing.


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