Forbidden Pashtun Poetry 

Human expression will always slither out through the cracks even in the worst oppression. Pashtun women living on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been repressed daily by a war society intent upon rendering its women mute. The UA's Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St., will host an artist talk and screening on Thursday, March 5, at 6 p.m. exploring the powerful way these women have learned to rebel through self-expression. The women adopted the ancient Afghan poetry form landay to tell the story of their modern lives and struggles, which they read aloud to each other at secret meetings. The event will feature photographer Seamus Murphy and journalist and author Eliza Griswold, who collaborated to bring a representative narrative of these women to the world. Griswold writes down the womens' landays and translates them; Murphy adds to the words with his photographs of the women in their day-to-day lives. There will be a screening of Murphy's short film "Snake," which is one meaning of the word landay. Readings follow the screening, as well as conversation and the chance to view the accompanying exhibit on display in the Poetry Center Library. Admission is free. For more on the event and the Poetry Center, visit poetry.arizona.edu.

More by Cali Nash


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