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Something Missing From This World

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Edited by Zêdan Xelef, Bryar Bajalan, Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse and Shook

Publication Date: September 3rd, 2024

A bold, multilingual anthology of Yazidi poetic voices. 

Paperback ISBN: 9781646053476
eBook ISBN: 9781646053599


Ten years have passed since 2014 and the seventy-third genocide of the Yazidis, a people who have faced ongoing persecution, displacement, and ethnic cleansing from their ancestral lands in the Kurdish regions. In the wake of this new genocidal violence, new poetic voices have emerged in university campuses and IDP camps along the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Turkey. With globalizing forces compounding the erasure of their culture and traditions, the Yazidi poets in this multilingual anthology firmly stand their ground, their art a testament to Yazidi resistance and presence.

This anthology joins in the poetic tradition of the Yazidis, which has historically preserved and documented instances of their traditions, dispossessions, and erasures. It is its own act of witnessing to recount the 2014 genocide for future generations.

Translated from both Arabic and Kurmanji, the poets in this anthology affirm that they, indeed, will not let Yazidi voices be missed from this world.

Biographical Note

Zêdan Xelef was born on Shingal Mountain in northern Iraq, in 1995, and arrived with his family to the Chamishko IDP camp in late 2014. Today he is an MFA student at San Francisco State University, and contributes to ingal Lives, an oral history project where he manages a team of Yezidi young people dedicated to collecting and preserving their culture’s endangered oral tradition.

Bryar Bajalan is a writer, translator, and filmmaker currently pursuing a doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. With Shook, he has co-translated Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi’s A Friends Kitchen (Poetry Translation Centre, 2023) and Zêdan Xelef’s A Barcode Scanner (Kashkul Books, 2021/Gato Negro Ediciones, 2022).

Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse is a poet, translator, and assistant professor at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). Her debut collection Dream State appeared from Unnamed Press in 2024. She serves as the Founding Director of Kashkul and was the Founding Director of the Slemani UNESCO City of Literature. She is a 2022 NEA Fellow, the first ever working from the Kurdish.

Shook is a poet and translator who lives in Northern California. Their recent translations include Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi’s A Friend’s Kitchen, cotranslated from Arabic with Bryar Bajalan, Mikeas Sánchez’ How to Be a Good Savage and Other Poems, cotranslated from Zoque and Spanish with Wendy Call, and Conceição Lima’s No Gods Live Here, translated from Portuguese. Shook’s film A Barcode Scanner, based on Zêdan Xelef’s poem by the same name, won the 2020 Best Film for Tolerance Prize at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.