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September 2012

Writing from the Silk Road

This month we celebrate literature from along the Silk Road in an issue that features work from Central Asia, Georgia, and China. Noted Uzbek writer in exile Hamid Ismailov paints a picture of mid day in Samarkand, while from Kyrgyzstan Konstantin Kondratenko describes a visit from an unusual winter guest and Alla Pyatibratova reports from the front row of a revolution. Kazakh writer Ilya Odegov's protagonist takes some advice too close to heart while his compatriot, Debut Prize finalist Aigerim Tazhi, sketches a city waiting for salvation. Georgian writer Shota Iatashvili describes a staring match with a chess Grandmaster, and Uyghur poet Exmetjan Osman watches the ages pass by in a city park. Also this month, we feature new work translated from German: Herta Müller writing about a memory of snow, and Finn-Ole Heinrich, who finds that disability is no joking matter. 

Lovers in Samarkand
By Hamid Ismailov
(An old song that wells up in this poem) Before midday, round about eleven in the bazaar by the Boltabay post with its attached loudspeaker, the sun is just heating up. Like a wheel not hurrying to go…
Translated from Uzbek by Hamid Ismailov & Richard McKane
By Konstantin Kondratenko
It was a winter morning when the Tangerine King rolled into my room
Translated from Russian by Semyon Akhrameev
My Story of Chess
By Shota Iatashvili
I had no idea what was wrong with the girl. She’d make her move, hold her breath for a few seconds, then move her hand toward the chessboard again and touch the piece she had just put down, as if…
Translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway
An Orange Lemon
By Alla Pyatibratova
Orange is for another country. The color for our revolution is yellow.
Translated from Russian by Rohan Kamicheril
Old Fazyl’s Advice
By Ilya Odegov
“God’s punishment comes through the hands of the insulted,” said Fazyl, sighing.
Translated from Russian by Rohan Kamicheril