Life for Us by Choman Hardi
Choman Hardi was born in Iraqi Kurdistan just before her family fled to Iran. She returned home at the age of five, but when she was 14 the Kurds were attacked with chemical weapons, and her family were forced back into exile. Her poems chart lives of displacement and terror, repression and the subjugation of women, family love, flight and survival. Life for Us is a book of great warmth and passion, which explores both the struggle of a people not represented on the world map and the pains of exile. It shows the human spirit triumphing over adversity. Intertwining political and personal struggle in a quirky, sometimes humorous way, Choman Hardi's poems draw upon dual memories - like fireworks and gunfire - as well as different realities for different sexes: the father's political struggle and loss of books, the mother's silent labour and weeping for others. Life for Us (2004) was Choman Hardi's first English collection, and was followed by Considering the Women (2015), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.