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September 2006

Literature From The "Axis Of Evil": Writing From Iran, Iraq, North Korea And Other Enemy Nations

How many Americans, even the most bookish, have ever read the work of a contemporary writer from Iran, Iraq, or North Korea, the countries George W. Bush designated the "Axis of Evil"? Words Without Borders is proud to be among the first to offer American readers a selection of stories and poems, most of which have never before been translated into English, from these and other nations currently considered "enemies," both in this issue and in our new anthology, LITERATURE FROM THE "AXIS OF EVIL" (The New Press).

In concert with the launch of our first print publication, we offer our readers bonus features online:

"Love's Turn," Mohsen Makhmbalaf (Iran): a ghazal in the form of a screenplay

"Words," Salah Al-Hamdani (Iraq): an apostrophe to Baghdad

"Sprouts," Zakariya Tamer (Syria): the schoolmaster as dictator

"A Nation Behind Bars." Khalid Oways (Sudan): "Art is forbidden. It calls for immorality and degradation."

"Making of Paris," Ernesto René Rodriguez (Cuba): a road trip across Europe

from Límites de Alcanía, Rito Ramón Aroche (Cuba): experimental prose poetry

"To Offer My Heart," Nancy Alonso (Cuba): the sound of the spirit read aloud

And interviews with advisory editors, relevant back issues (from July/August, September and October of 2003), and our extensive archives of works from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Cuba.

Finally, Words Without Borders salutes the life and work of Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006).

Who walks wearily within me at a time when your wound does not sleep? Baghdad I will divest you of your morgue so long to grasp I will divest you at the heart of things at the pinnacle of my childhood.…
Translated from French
Counted Threads
She knew she had the threads counted, oriented from top to bottom, with precision slanting. Some mutilated, already frayed, even to the edge stooped and sightless in her rocker my grandmother would say,…
Translated from Spanish
By Zakariya Tamer
As he did every morning, Bilal al-Dandashi headed to school. Arriving late, he entered trembling from fear of his teacher, whose rebuke would be crude and sarcastic. He discovered, however, that all the…
Translated from Arabic by William Maynard Hutchins
Mist: In the Capital City
By Reina María Rodriguez
How long did I contemplate the line dividing / the branch from the water.
Translated from Spanish by Kristin Dykstra
Death of a Swan
By Sherko Fatah
Later it wasn’t easy for Michael to believe that they had really been capable of it. It must have been because it was Christmas Eve, one of the last of the century, because of the solemn air of…
Translated from German by Martin Chalmers