Saparchiwin, which means 'I am a Traveller' is Amer Hamza's first and only novel to date, yet it has become an instant best seller and now, for the first time, this novel is being available outside of Iraq.
Sarqaya is publishing the second revised edition with a new preface by the author and an introduction by Nineb Lamassu.
This novel is based on the life and culture of Dora, a Baghdad suburb, which until the very fall of Saddam in 2003 was a largely Assyrian inhabited suburb. Hamza bases his Saparchiwin on the Assyrian quarter of Dora - Ḥay el-Aṯuriyeen.
After the fall of Saddam an infighting ensued between the Sunni and Shiite militias and Dora became the battle ground for this conflict. The Assyrians, as Christians, were caught between the crossfires of these two opposing sides, which were unified in one thing only: to drive out the Assyrians and make sure no Assyrians were left in Dora.
Hamza, who was born and raised in Dora and grew up among the Assyrians found himslef estranged and alienated when Dora was emptied of its Assyrian inhabitants: his beautiful Assyrian Quarter was just not the same anymore - he found himself alianated without all of his Assyrian friends and neighbour. He roamed around streets longing for the Assyrian songs heard from the neighbours next door, desperately searching for his Assyrian friends whom he used to meet on the street corner; and shutting off the current bustling commotion with the hope of hearing the young girls chatting in Assyrian as they walked home from school. Hamza wrote this novel with this intense nostalgic feeling, Saparchiwin is basically Hamza's Hiraeth reduced to writing and taken the form of an astonishing novel.
The Bow and the Reed
These ekphrastic poems were written by Nineb Lamassu as part of British Museum's 'I am Ashurbanipal' exhibition. The poet wrote these poems during a number of visits to the exhibition and they were translated by Jamie Osborn. This collection is the first set of ekphtrastic poems to have been published in Assyrian and Nineb Lamassu's innovative ways of toying with his language feels like one is reading the tablets of an ancient Assyrian scribe: each poem is formed like a clay tablet, each tablet with a different shape, beauty and content.
Review of Nineb Lamassu's poetry:
As Nazar Derani, remarks in his critical study of Modern Assyrian poetry on Nineb Lamassu's poetic language: "despite the fact he uses a vocabulary that is not in dialy use - to a degree that oblidges the reader to use a dictionary, but his carefully selected words contain an energy and a spiritual pecularity because he is able to feel these words and use them like they have never been used. Thus, he grants these words a new life, to be precise he turns them into new created beings. And this is not simple task!"
He goes further and comments on Nineb Lamassu's poetic imagery: "What sets Nineb Lamassu's poetic image aside from other poets is the fact that Nineb Lamassu's poetic image remains the same but keeps on moving along with the poet's vision, in an other word, he adds the element of montage; making you feel you are standing before a panoramic image where is in reality it is a single image having imagining it thus."
- Nazar Derani
Al Nemeqi (The City of Wisdom) is an edited poetry collection reflecting the ethnocultural, religious and linguistic diversity of Mosul - ancient Nineveh.
This collection is edited by one of Mosul's respected poets, Jameel Al-Jameel and this is his way of fighting back against racism and ethno-religious intolerance, which dominated the city during the ISIS occupation. This is his way of highlighting the city's rich mosaic, which is shining through the poetry of Mosul's foremost poets; irrespective of language, ethnicity and religion. The collection contains the poetry of Assyrian, Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmani, Yezidi and Shabak poets - some in their original language along with an Arabic translation.
This book is a must for anyone interest in Mosul, and Iraq in general, before and post ISIS; and/or Iraq's rich and diverse minorities.
Scribbles of a Madman
Scribbles of a Madman is Nineb Lamassu's 6th collection and the 5th which Enheduanna Publishing has published for Lamassu to date.
Lamassu has established himself as one of the most innovative modernist Assyrian poets of our time and his poetry requires no introduction.
In this collection of 308 pages of poetry, Lamassu is both romantic and critical: critical of the current status quo of Assyrian politics and the shortcomings of Assyrian intelligentsia. His poetry is the voice of a people in distress.
As a romantic, his poetry is both risqué and provoking, some might even see his romantic poems, in this collection, worthy of censorship. It is always a fine line between poems of sincere love emotions and poetic expressions of lovemaking, on one hand, and pornographic poetry on the other. In this collection, Lamassu toys with crossing this fine line and this is exactly what makes this collection an exciting read.
My Poetry, Sorrow and Desires
Thirty Springs and an Autumn
This is Nineb Lamassu’s latest poetry collection, consisting of thirty poems; half of which are written in Eastern Assyrian and the other half in Western Assyrian.
Lamassu wrote these poems during the month of April 2017, as part of ‘A Poem a Day’ celebration of National Poetry Month.
Other than the challenge of writing a poem a day for the thirty days of April, Lamassu set himself yet another challenge: to end all of the poems with a paraphrase from Rabi William Daniel’s Qatine the Great masterpiece.
This is certainly a must read and comes highly recommended.