On the Line: Conversations About Poetry
by Solmaz Sharif
In Episode 3, Kate Sutherland discusses Look by Solmaz Sharif with Paula Eisenstein, Lida Nosrati, and Sarah Pinder.
In the course of the conversation, a few references are made to sources outside the book, including interviews with Solmaz Sharif in The Kenyon Review, Divedapper, and The Paris Review, and an essay by Sharif in which she writes about war poetry.
The title poem “Look” and excerpts from “Personal Effects” read with permission from Graywolf Press. All rights reserved.
by Solmaz Sharif
Graywolf Press, 2016
Description from the publisher:
Solmaz Sharif’s astonishing first book, Look, asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable losses of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family’s and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed, in America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discriminations endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.
At the same time, these poems point to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout this collection are words and phrases lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; in their seamless inclusion, Sharif exposes the devastating euphemisms deployed to sterilize the language, control its effects, and sway our collective resolve. But Sharif refuses to accept this terminology as given, and instead turns it back on its perpetrators. “Let it matter what we call a thing,” she writes. “Let me look at you.”
Episode 3 Guests
Paula Eisenstein is the author of the novel Flip Turn (Mansfield Press 2012). Her poetry and prose have appeared in literary magazines that include The Puritan, The Rusty Toque, Descant and filling Station. She grew up in London Ontario and presently lives in Toronto.
Lida Nosrati is a literary translator whose translations of poetry, short fiction and drama by contemporary Iranian writers have been published in Words Without Borders, Drunken Boat, TransLit, and Writers' Hub among others. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Banff Centre for the Arts, Yaddo, Santa Fe Art Institute (as a Witter Bynner Poetry Translation fellow), and Bread Loaf Translators' Conference. She works as a refugee legal worker in Toronto.
Sarah Pinder is the author of the poetry collections Cutting Room and Common Place (Coach House Books). Her writing has been included in magazines like Geist, Arc and Poetry is Dead, as well as the anthology She's Shameless. She lives in Toronto.
Kate Sutherland, On the Line, Host and Producer
Kate Sutherland is the author of two collections of short stories: Summer Reading (winner of a Saskatchewan Book Award for Best First Book) and All In Together Girls. Her first book of poems, How to Draw a Rhinoceros, is forthcoming from BookThug in Fall 2016. She lives in Toronto.
On the Line: