Leeza Ahmady, curator of Central Asian art and films and video artist, Mariam Ghani teamed up to bring these wonderful classic Afghan films and newsreel footage from Afghan films to the Guggenheim Museum.
As the images and films percolate for a longer article, I’m right now enamored by the visuals from this film:
Feature: Mujasemaha Mekhandan
(The Sculptures Are Laughing, 1976, 81 min., dir. Toryalai Shafaq)
The deliriously paced story of an artist who falls in love with a spoiled rich girl, who marries a gangster that then draws both her and her former love into his wacky schemes. A window into life in Daoud’s republic, from art school and fashion shows to house parties and weddings.
Total run time 156 min.
The film was shot in Kabul in 1975/76 and for me was my family album put to motion. A teen Hangama, the Afghan pop icon, also has a song sequence in the film. Awkward moments but a priceless moment in time. Here are some images I fell in love with:
Some rad rock tunes were featuered.
Nasrine visits Ahmed, the scuptor’s home.
Nasrine and gal pal at Kabul Uni.
On their first date/marriage proposal.
Guests at Fashion Show.
Ahmed professes his undying and pure love for her.
Feature: Mujasemaha Mekhandan
(The Sculptures Are Laughing, 1976, 81 min., dir. Toryalai Shafaq)
Written by Engineer Latif
Total run time 156 min.
Naturally, their dates had a lot of running in them.
Here is a great interview with Siddiq Barmak and Engineer Latif on Afghan Cinema
Poet extraordinaire Purvi Shah is now hosting a women’s radio show on Jus Radio. Earlier this year, she kindly invited me to talk about being a woman writer and being part of a team that founded UpSet Press.
Here are my stories of how I emerged from public school ESL student to a grassroots indie publisher. It was only after the interview that I realized my dream of writing and publishing began in second grade. I can still very vividly remember the very first full story I read in English “The Day the Sun Danced.”
Thank you Purvi Shah for always being such a supporter of the work of writing.
Check out the exuberant co-founder of UpSet Press, Zohra Saed, on naughty literary adventures & micro-publishing vanguard voices.
Zohra Saed Part 1
Zohra Saed Part 2
Zohra Saed Part 3
A Woman’s World airs at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays on Jus Radio. You can listen online here or download the Jus Radio app to listen on the go.
You can find here an archive of activists, artists, dancers and other groundbreaking women in the community. I’m honored to be included in the mix. (I’m also listening to some great Hindi songs on the station now!)
On Sept. 8th, I’ll be presenting perhaps my last poetry performance of the year. After opting to live with my academic voice for the next 9 months in order to complete the dissertation (aka give narrative links to the beautiful scattered archival material I’ve been accumulating) and finish the scholarly articles that have accumulated on my desk. After two years of performance and activity. This writer needs to head back into the library in a semi-Hawthornian withdrawal to complete new works. This blog may end up becoming a chewing center for ideas I’ll be working around in that time. But until all this turning over of a new leaf, here is a beautiful event that the brilliant curator Meenakshi Thirukode invited me to be a part of in Bushwick. I’ll be drifting with poet Modesto Flako Jiminez Friday on the great poetry hunt. We will be presenting our project on the 8th at 12:30pm at the Bogart Salon. Here is the panel I’ll be a part of and afterwards the entire schedule of panels and talks. I’d use the word “panel” loosely here. I don’t know what the avant garde cousin of a panel would be called, but this day is filled with beautiful art and poetry. Here is more information about the project www.citydrift.org
Sept 8th 2012
56 Bogart St., Bushwick, Morgan Stop L train
Location 1: The Bogart Salon
PANEL 2, 12:30 -1 PM
Poets drift with Jason Koo, Melissa Broder, Sophia Le Fraga, Debora Kuan. Zohra Saed and Modesto Flako Jiminez (from Meenakshi Thirukode’s “Curator as Enabler” drift)
Eid Mubarak! This was my favorite Eid card and created by Kalimat Publishing, a children’s publishing house in UAE. I wish I had this when I was growing up!
Behave or the sleeping Alexander will reclaim your lungs.
Was once a cube of sugar
Refusing to dissolve in the sea.
It became a city from sheer stubbornness.
Alexander naively said,
“This is my land!”
causing the earth to giggle and birth him a wife
Rukhshana. (Roxanna if you prefer).
This wife refused to dissolve in his sea.
We know how the bright sun found him
The next day – snuffed by an ornate embroidered pillow -
The pillow and the three drops of Alexandrian blood
Have been preserved by the mountains.
Kandahar could never be Alexandria after that delicious murder.
Used by permission.
Zohra Saed is the co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press). Her poetry has appeared in: Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality Ed. Sarah Hussein (Seal Press); Speaking for Herself: Asian Women’s Writings Ed. Sukrita Paul Kumar and Savita Singh (Penguin India); Seven Leaves One Autumn Ed. Sukrita Paul Kumar and Savita Singh (Rajkamal Prakashan Publishing: New Delhi, India); and most recently Sahar Muradi & Zohra Saed: Misspelled Cities (Notebook #105, documenta 13).
Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!
If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive
As a prelude to the 2012 exhibition, dOCUMENTA (13) and Hatje Cantz are publishing a series of notebooks, 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts, that is comprised of facsimiles of existing notebooks, commissioned essays, collaborations, and conversations.
A note is a trace, a word, a drawing that all of a sudden becomes part of thinking, and is transformed into an idea. This publication project follows that path, presenting the mind in a prologue state, in a pre-public arena. A space for intimacy and not yet of criticism, dOCUMENTA (13) is publishing the unpublishable, the voice—and the reader is our alibi and ally. Note taking encompasses witnessing, drawing, writing, and diagrammatic thinking; it is speculative, manifests a preliminary moment, a passage, and acts as a memory aid.
With contributions by authors from a range of disciplines, such as art, science, philosophy and psychology, anthropology, economic- and political theory, language- and literature studies, as well as poetry, 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts constitutes a space of dOCUMENTA (13) to explore how thinking emerges and lies at the heart of re-imagining the world. In its cumulative nature, this publication project is a continuous articulation of the emphasis of dOCUMENTA (13) on the propositional, underlining the flexible mental moves to generate space for the possible. Thoughts, unlike statements, are always variations: this is the spirit in which these notebooks are proposed.
The notebooks, designed by Leftloft, will be published from March 2011 on in three different formats, 16 to 48 pages, in English and German.
Commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13)’s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev together with Agent, Member of Core Group, and Head of Department Chus Martínez, this series is edited by Head of Publications, Bettina Funcke
Sahar Muradi and I composed poems for Afghan cities “Misspelled Cities/Falsch geschriebene Stadte.” Sahar’s poetry series was titled “A Secret Life in Misspelled Cities” while mine was titled “The Secret Lives of Misspelled Cities” (title of upcoming poetry collection in press). Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the Director of documenta(13) was kind enough to offer us a space for poetry in the midst of so much important art. The notebook is available as a pdf here: Sahar Muradi & Zohra Saed notebook 105 and it is both in English and German.
Visual aids are very important to me in my writing. I like to see places that I’m writing about, experience things that I’m writing about. So throughout my career I’ve taken photographs of things, which I can then study. The whole business in Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads, when he talks about the spontaneous overflow of emotion recollected in tranquility—a photograph can help you do that.
W.T. Vollmann, Paris Review (“William T. Vollmann, The Art of Fiction” Fall, 2000)
I’ve been reading a lot of Vollmann these days and came across this quote. This was in reference to the first book he wrote in his early twenties, after his trip to Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war. This quote perhaps explains my latest preoccupation with taking iPhone snapshots and playing them up with instagram filters. This visual archiving has been part of my writing process, not necessarily a new photography hobby. You can follow the photos I take on instagram (@zohrasaed not sure how to link it since it’s an iPhone app).
Until I find the time to upload the instagram photos up on my blog… I will, in it’s place, upload here my favorite purchase of the summer and something I have been remembering how to type — in Cunningham JHS, I learned to type on a typewriter very similar to this. Cunningham was supposed to be a computer savvy junior high school, so they taught us everything from typing on a 1930s typewriter to writing up simple programs, to learning how to use an old fashioned printing press.
An example of the metal movable type that we used to align to print a page at Cunningham JHS 234
Only in retrospect do I feel fortunate to have gone to such a school. It must be where the kernel of loving the texture and mechanical parts that produced the printed word began. Thank you Cunningham for that early lesson. Now, I have this beauty sharing desk space with my Mac.
My latest typewriter circa 1930s
This summer I’ve had the great luxury of time and the gift of an iPhone 4s. So, I’ve photo documented the process of copyediting the late Lebanese poet, Nadia Tueni’s (1935-1983) poetry collection: The Blond Texts + The Age of Embers translated from the French by Amir Parsa.
The photos are from June-July 2012 and happily the manuscript is in the final stage of copy editing.
Draft of the Cover at MoMA on June 4th, 2012
Amir Parsa discussing networks of translation at MoMA
Robert Booras at MoMA performing note taking and translation at our talk on June 4, 2012
My part in the talk on translation and performance at MoMA in translated form…
Amir and more copyediting meetings. Fort Greene.
Robert Booras copyediting outdoors
Amir Parsa returning to the French during the copyediting process. The beauty of being an indie press is that we can have picnic copyediting sessions in Inwood.
Inwood. MetroNorth train right under the bridge.
Genius poet, Amir Parsa rereading again and referring to the French for final edits.
Always the meticulous editor, Robert Booras has taught me that conversational editing is the best way to produce a final polished manuscript.
And it’s a wrap!
On June 4th, 2012 Afifa Yusufi, Sahar Muradi and I accepted the Silver Medal for Best Anthology Award at the BEA Convention in NYC. The award ceremony was a spin off event and we were in the company of brilliant and adventurous writers.
Afifa Yusufi, Zohra Saed and Sahar Muradi (L-R)
The award acknowledged ten years of work bringing this important anthology to the world. Sahar and I were blessed to be on this journey together and to meet so many talented Afghan American writers. Since the anthology’s publication we’ve met more writers and have considered a second anthology. For now, we have been busy coming together with writers and artists to continue the movement of Afghan American art and literature making. Thank you for acknowledging independent publishing. Thank you to the University of Arkansas Press for the support these years.