This Room is Waiting – a book of poetry translations

This Room is Waiting is a tri-lingual collection of poems from our series of translation workshops in 2013.

Published by Freight Books it comprises translations of the Arabic and Kurdish and English language poems and features work by John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, William Letford, Krystelle Bamford from the UK and Zaher Mousa, Ghareeb Iskander, Sabreen Khadhim and Awezan Nouri from Iraq. It is edited by Lauren Pyott and Ryan Van Winkle. The book also showcases some specially commissioned pieces of calligraphy by Samir Sumaida’ie which are based on each poet’s work.

The poets were all encouraged to create ‘versions’ of each others’ poems and were tasked with channeling the anger, fear, hurt, hope, joy and fragile optimism of the originals. As such, the english translations of the Iraqi work connects readers with the realities of life in post-invasion Iraq in a far richer, deeper and poetic manner than is often found in traditional media reports.

The startling new works produced not only share the essence of the original poem, they represent small acts of friendship and solidarity; the translation of each poet’s reality.

What if it was our culture, our country that was invaded?’ is the underlying question this unique anthology and This Room is Waiting explores the myriad of answers – fashioning an extraordinary portrait of a country rebuilding after war.

The project was made possible by the support of The British Council.

Responses to the book:

‘These Iraqi and UK poets transcend national borders and fashion our small world into one that is beautiful, inhabitable and full of verve and surprise’ Malu Halasa

‘Poetry might sometimes seem inconsequential, but the poems in this book prove that poetry can connect even the most unlikely souls’ Structo Magazine

‘A ground-breaking anthology’ The Tanjara

This Room Is Waiting is constantly bringing new things to the surface, conjuring up new ideas, new viewpoints and experimental flavours….’ Neon Magazine

‘Reel Iraq’s initiative, bringing these poets together, has enriched us through a project where translation is only the beginning of creation’ Professor Marilyn Booth (Iraq Chair of Arabic and Islamic Studies)

Buy direct from Freight Books


Editors Lauren Pyott & Ryan Van Winkle