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.
'Choman Hardi’s poems tell of tragedy, war, persecution and dispersal, but are far more than simple summonings of facts. The grace and rhythm of the telling – the singing of it – moves the poems beyond reportage. There is a kind of tranquillity and civilisation in the voice which heals as it weeps: the tears are not those of self-pity but those of ageless lamentations, caught freshly here, formed into fresh shapes. Pity there is, but the poetry is not in the pity: the pity is in the poetry’– George Szirtes.
'Choman Hardi conveys the trauma of personal and political experience with flair and delicacy. This is compelling poetry of international significance’ – Moniza Alvi.