S5E6: A Language of the Otherwise & the Meaning of Home

22 Sep 2022
S5E6: A Language of the Otherwise & the Meaning of Home

Image credits: Claire Schwartz by Beowulf Sheehan

PEN SA board member Bongani Kona interviews Claire Schwartz and Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon. 

They address issues of state violence, complicity, the role of the law, migration, the influence of Black studies and the possibilities of poetry, relations of care and imagining new ways of living alongside one another.

Bongani Kona is a writer, editor and lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape. Claire Schwartz is the author of the poetry collection Civil Service published by Graywolf Press in 2022 and the culture editor of Jewish Currents. Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon has worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand over the past decade. The Blinded City: 10 Years in Inner-City Johannesburg (Pan Macmillan, 2022) is his first sole-authored book.

In this episode we stand in solidarity with Perhat Tursun, a Uyghur author who was forcibly disappeared in Xinjiang in 2018. You can read more about his case here and here.

An English translation of one of Tursun’s books, The Backstreets: A Novel from Xinjiang has been published by Columbia University Press in a translation by Darren Byler and Anonymous. His poetry is also widely available in English thanks largely to the work of another scholar, Joshua L. Freeman. Aziz Isa Elkun, from Uyghur PEN has also translated some of Perhat Tursun’s work. This project by Irish PEN includes a recording of Perhat Tursun narrating his poem, followed by an English translation by Joshua L. Freeman.

Listen to the latest episode here: