Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Words Without Borders


"Words without Borders" translates, publishes, and promotes the finest contemporary International Literature. Our publications and programs open doors for readers of English around the world to the multiplicity of viewpoints, richness of experience, and literary perspective on world events offered by writers in other Languages. We seek to connect international writers to the general public, to students and educators, and to print and other media and to serve as a primary Online Location for a global Literary Conversation.
Every month, on our "Online Magazine", we publish eight to ten new works by International Writers. We have published works by Nobel Prize winner J.M.G. Le Clezio, Herta Muller, Mahmoud Darwish, Etgar Keret, Per Petterson, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, W.G. Sebald, and Ma Jian, as well as many new and rising International Writers. To date, we have published well over a thousand pieces from 114 Countries and Eighty Languages.

In addition to producing the magazine, we partner with publishing houses to release print anthologies. To date, we have released Words without Borders: The World through the Eyes of Writers (Anchor Books), Literature from the “Axis of Evil”: Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations (The New Press), The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain (Open Letter). 2010 will see the release of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry and Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes of the Middle East, edited by Reza Aslan and published by W.W. Norton.
Finally, "Words without Borders" is building an education program in order to expose students at both the high school and college levels to a broader spectrum of contemporary international literature. Our goal is to provide content and resources fostering the use of Contemporary Literature in the classroom. We hope that in reaching out to students we can create a passion for International Literature, a curiosity about other cultures, and help cultivate "true world citizens".

"Desert Lights"
Murathan Mungan

The wind chisels out of sand
its own statues, its hours
hot crystals
splintered definition of light
set in ambush
a mirage aflame
coming toward a roundabout
the confidence of murders
summer fades, the sand, the heat
What matters in opportune moments
Is a steady aim, not to miss time
Poems written for the survivors
Distances that must be taken into account
Where the desert ends a plateau
where it does not end
your life's rhythm
going toward chaos
The confidence of your persona
the unraveling ambush,
the wind's exhaustion in the sand,
the cooling mirage
the meaning (that eludes you)
of the days you lived
a life redeemed
with false receipts
final expenditure
Before winter arrives you must
hire a handsome assassin

Murathan Mungan (b. 1955) holds a degree in drama from Ankara University. He has worked for the State Theatre as a dramaturge. His poetry collections include Osmanliya Dair Hikayat (Stories on the Ottomans, 1980), Kum Saati (The Hourglass, 1984), Eski 45'likler (Old 45's, 1989), Yaz SinemalariMirildandiklarim (My Mutterings, 1990), Oyunlar Intiharlar Sarkilar (Games Suicides Songs, 1997), and Baskalarinin Gecesi (The Night of Others, 1997). Among his short story collections are Son Istanbul (The Last Istanbul, 1985), Cenk Hikayeleri Combat Stories, 1986), Kirk OdaLal Masallar (Mute Fairy Tales, 1989), and Uc Aynali Kirk Oda (Forty Rooms with Three Mirrors, 1999). His published plays include Mahmut ile Yezida (Mahmut and Yezida, 1980), TaziyeMezopotamya Uclemesi (The Mesopotamian Trilogy, 1992). (Summer Cinemas, 1989), (Forty Rooms, 1987), (Condolences, 1982), and Mezopotamya Uclemesi (The Mesopotamian Trilogy, 1992).


From “23”
Shams Langeroody

The airplane
has landed.
White smoke-loaded smile:
what a cargo
of sorrow.

A silent rain
surrounds the airport.
A tattered wet wind
chases black pigeons.
White smoke-loaded smile:
what a cargo
of sorrow.

Bodies came back on ice.
Corroded hopes
falling off piece by piece.

Handless shadows,
directionless clocks.
who against the storm
bow their heads to inner ground
turn to ashes.
who know not
to what punishment they were born.

The airplane
has landed.
Wounded soldiers
shelter in each others arms,
frostbitten birds in the sleet.

White smoke-loaded smile:
what a cargo
of sorrow.

a bird has split in two.
The sky is torn in shreds, and song and light
             gush from its heart.
Rain and wind, a phrase of taps, a branch of bitter orange
             gush from its heart.

let’s gather the fragments of birds
             and make a little song,
             and hide in its delicate shelter.
 There’s nothing
             to hang on to              
                          in this fiery whirling wind.

A thimble
has made room for two pale lakes
to drown me.
A drought year
is hiding in the plumbing
to swallow me.
The mud-colored wardrobe
is a crucifix on the hilltop
of my scattered clothes.

There’s nothing
              to hang on to              
                           in this fiery whirling wind.

The airplane
has landed.
A headless commander
shouts orders
at burnt corpses.

Dogs bark
among metallic stars
and red and yellow
a skull
on command
stands at attention.

Shams Langeroody is one of the most prominent literary figures of contemporary Iran. He was born in 1951, in Langrood, a coastal town edging on the Caspian Sea. Langeroody moved to Rasht, a large Northern city in Iran, and entered the school of finance, receiving a BA in economics in 1974. In 1977, Langeroody published his first collection of poetry, entitled The Manner of Thirst.

In 1981, he was arrested as a political activist and served a six-month sentence. One of Shams Langeroody's major contributions to Persian Literature besides his poetry and prose is his four-volume Analytic History of the Modern Poetry of Iran published in Persian. Langeroodi's poems have been translated into many languages and his book of poetry entitled Fifty-Three Love Songs has been translated into Kurdish and Arabic.

You’re Where You’ve Always Been
Azra Abbas

earlier touching my lips
now floats in the Thames
Does the river know
the feel of such a touch?
Touches are never forgotten.
In the midst of chilly, gusting winds
standing before a poster of Marilyn Monroe
Unbidden I salute her beauty.
Beauty mustn’t die.
Beauty must abide for all time.
But no—
I see the young man coming along
Eyes slip away from the poster
to behold beauty in motion.
Time hadn’t propelled me so far forward
I would have kissed you.
I light a cigarette
and drop it in the Thames
so the river might extinguish it.
The last of the cigarette-gone-dead bobs
as though smiling at me saying:
You’re where you’ve always been.
Look! it stands behind you.

Azra Abbas was born in 1948 in Karachi. She earned her Master’s Degree in Urdu from Kara­chi University and went on to teach Urdu Literature at a Government College in Karachi. Eventually, she and her husband, the Ppoet and Novelist, Anwar Sen Rai (who works for the BBC), moved to England, where she currently resides. In 1981, her first work was published, comprising a long "feminist" prose-poem in the "stream-of-consciousness form". She has produced three collections of poems and one of short stories, along with an autobiographical narrative. She has also com­pleted a novel.

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