We are excited to be hosting renowned poet and scholar Choman Hardi from American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), for a fascinating poetry evening at the Columbia Global Centers | Turkey. She will read from her forthcoming collection; Considering the Women. Migration, political violence, gendered experiences, and honour-related crimes are central themes in the book.
Considering the Women
Choman Hardi's Considering the Women explores the equivocal relationship between immigrants and their homeland - the constant push and pull - as well as the breakdown of an intermarriage, and the plight of women in an aggressive patriarchal society and as survivors of political violence. The book's central sequence, Anfal, draws on Choman Hardi's post-doctoral research on women survivors of genocide in Kurdistan. The stories of eleven survivors (nine women, an elderly man and a boy child) are framed by the radically shifting voice of the researcher: naive and matter-of-fact at the start; grieved, abstracted and confused by the end. Knowledge has a noxious effect in this book, destroying the poet's earlier optimistic sense of self and replacing it with a darker identity where she is ready for 'all the good people in the world to disappoint her'. Choman Hardi's second collection in English ends with a new beginning found in new love and in taking time off from the journey of traumatic discovery to enjoy the small, ordinary things of life.
Choman Hardi was born in Sulaimani and lived in Iraq and Iran before seeking asylum in the UK in 1993. She was educated at the Universities of Oxford (BA, Philosophy and Psychology), London (MA, Philosophy) and Kent (PhD, Mental health). She was awarded a scholarship from the Leverhulme Trust to carry out her post-doctoral research about women survivors of genocide in Kurdistan-Iraq. The resulting book, Gendered Experiences of Genocide: Anfal Survivors in Kurdistan-Iraq (Ashgate, 2011), was chosen by the Yankee Book Peddler as a UK Core Title. It was translated into Turkish by Avesta publishing in 2013.
Hardi has published collections of poetry in Kurdish and English. Her first English collection, Life for Us, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2004. In 2007 one of her poems from this collection, ‘My children’, was featured on Poems on the Under- ground in London. In 2010 four poems from the same collection were included in the English GCSE curriculum in the UK (AQA and Edexel). In August 2014, another poem, ‘Summer Roof’, was chosen by London’s Southbank Centre as one of the ‘50 greatest love poems of the past 50 years’. In November 2014 she was given The Woman’s Award by Andesha Cultural Centre in Sulaimani for her literary and academic achievements. Her latest English collection, Considering the Women (Bloodaxe Books, 2015), was given a Recommendation by the Poetry Book Society.
She has been a poet in residence at Moniack Mhor Writers Centre (Scotland), Villa Hellebosch (Belgium), Hedgebrook Women Writers’ Retreat (USA) and The Booth (Shetland). As an academic researcher, she has been a visiting scholar at The Centre for Multiethnic Research (Uppsala University), Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin) and The Department of Humanities (University of Amsterdam). Between 2009 and 2011 she was a Senior Associate Member of St Anthony’s College, Oxford. In 2014 she moved back to her home city to become an assistant professor in the Department of English at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS).