MEET THE SHORTLIST: BÄNOO ZAN

Banoo ZBänoo Zan’s book Songs of Exile is shortlisted for our 2017 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award! As we near the awards ceremony where the winner will be announced, we wanted to take some time to meet the shortlisted poets and find out more about what inspired their most recent poetry collections. Below is an original poem by Bänoo Zan, which she calls the introduction she never wrote for this debut collection of poems. First, let’s hear a little more about the book itself, from publisher Guernica Editions:

“The poems in Songs of Exile are not simply about geographical or political exile. They reveal a metaphorical exile from the poet’s lost self, the one she left behind in Iran, her place of origin, the one she has struggled to preserve all her life. They reveal concern about the Middle East and the negative associations with Iran; preoccupation with the possibility of reconciliation between the three Abrahamic religions; worries about family back home; and broodings on newly found friends and lovers. In these poems, the political is personal. ”

The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award shortlist also includes Christopher Gudgeon, Jennifer Houle, Johne Nyman, Ingrid Ruthig, and Margo Wheaton. Find more meet the shortlist posts here!

The introduction I didn’t write for Songs of Exile

 

Identity is a pen

Borders are books

You are the writer

 

Your feet

turn the road

into you

 

Poetry is the language

of accents

 

converts

silence to songs

 

I am

iambic

barbed wire

 

Give me

your destiny

and I will read you

better than Persian

 

Books exile

writers

 

like children

parents

 

The lines echo:

We are the clouds

life took off

only to land on

 

In the quiet of the page

the words

get away with the voice

 

You can’t give up

your peace

looking beyond

 

Identity is skin

Conflicts are bones

Exile is the soul

 

****

 

The story of our origins

is a preventable

truth