Introduction to AMWP Issue 2

I was both moved and delighted by the response to the first issue of the AMWP and I don’t think it an exaggeration to say that our readers are some of the most generous on the internet. Thank you for the emails, the messages and the tweets (and re-tweets!) and for being willing to sit with what must no doubt have seemed somewhat strange.

In its second iteration, the AMWP continues to showcase writers who play with language in exciting and innovative ways. AMWP 2 features writing in thirteen languages drawn from all over the world. Each poem is accompanied by an audio recording so that readers may once again immerse themselves in the unique soundscapes that each of these poets creates.

Borders feature heavily in this issue, spanning the ideological borders imposed by colonisation or self-imposed by prescriptivism, the literal borders created by war, the physical borders of distance and time, and even the borders that separate versions of a language from each other. There is an overarching theme of loss and alienation from culture and language, of having to fight to reclaim language and culture on the one hand and of learning to live with always being one step removed from them – a visitor in one’s own family – on the other.

But learning (or re-learning) language necessarily leaves room for happy accidents and surprising connections. This is most obviously reflected in the more playful poems included in this issue, but all the poems here are a demonstration of the relationships with culture and language that persist despite the barriers put up against them.

This issue would not have been possible without the fantastic network of multilingual artists, writers, and readers who contributed their time and expertise to the project once again. Thank you, Ameel Zia Khan, Aydée Bigaton Medina da Cunha, C.B. Mako, Jasmeet Sahi, Sameena Ali Jaffery, and Vanessa Giron for your generous advice and assistance.

-Nadia Niaz

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