The ‘Alienating’ Art of the Camera: Questions with Karl Kirchwey

Lauren Peat for AGNI: “Speedlooker” (AGNI 86) is written from the first-person perspective of Ottomar Anschütz, developer of the focal-plane shutter. As the poem’s speaker, Anschütz suggests that his invention has “caused our first fall into alienation” (a reference to Susan Sontag’s On Photography). Where did the idea to assume the perspective of an earlier technological pioneer come about?

Karl Kirchwey: The long poem MUTABOR [of which “Speedlooker” is a part]…was the result of a trip I took in 2007 or so to the Italian-, French-, and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, with all three of which I have family/autobiographical ties. Upon my return to the United States, I began to contemplate a poem that would somehow explore the geography and both natural and human history of these three areas. Again for autobiographical reasons (the uncle for whom I was named was a pilot killed in the Pacific in WWII; my father flew on heavy bombers out of England in 1944-5), the history of aviation has been a recurrent theme in my work. It appears that Anschütz’s photos of storks taking off and landing provided a German engineer, Otto Lilienthal, with the idea for the first airfoil (wing), later used by the Wright brothers. So aviation and photography are linked. Then I became interested in the effect of photography and film on our own experience of the world; crucial in this was my rereading Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” which posits a shift in the nature of the human experience of the work of art, and the loss of the “aura” of that work with mechanical reproduction (cinema and film, for instance).

The poem has grown over these ten years to now comprise twenty sections and some 300 rhymed quatrain stanzas (about 1200 lines). The open-endedness of this project appeals to me strongly; I may write on any subject and discover that it has a place in the long poem, which at its most fundamental level addresses our human experience of change (mutability) and our desire to stop or transcend it (our knowledge that we are mortal)…. As someone who has always tried to get my facts straight and pay attention to sources, I also wanted MUTABOR to be a kind of dialogue between the poem text and a marginal text, which is part autobiographical commentary, part criticism, and part bibliography, acknowledging the poem’s sources.

LP/AGNI: Readers of “Speedlooker” will likely be reminded and/or led to reconsider modern technological advancements; I think of social media, for example, and the idea that although we may believe that such platforms “bring things closer,” they perhaps only make us “absentminded and distract[ed] / …part of a collective” in which the “self is only dispossessed, / never transcended.” While the poem suggests that these technologies have “murdered” the “aura” of something formerly holy, it also gestures toward the intoxicating quality of these technologies: the machine is described as having “seduced the unarmed eye.” Has the imaginative exercise of adopting Anschütz’s perspective caused you to rethink your own relationship to technology, and if so, how? Do you struggle with this double thrust (between disillusionment and attraction) personally?

Karl Kirchwey: Mine may be the last generation that can remember not being computer-literate. And even now I am, by choice, only barely computer-literate. Which is to say that I regard the internet as a great resource but e-mail as a kind of tyranny over my attention and energy; I take every opportunity I can to be off-line and (for example) reading the cold print of a book in the quiet space of my own mind. I do not use Facebook, Twitter, etc. But then, my social needs were conditioned by the ancient practices of talking to people and writing letters to people. Along with everyone else, I marvel at how easy communication has become (though tricky, too, as the difficulty of reading the tone of an e-mail makes clear), and I acknowledge that my two young adult children are encountering the world now, including the social world, in ways that are different from those I have chosen.

I think the long poem…is indeed addressing the “seduction” of the “unarmed eye” (that last phrase is Benjamin’s) with particular regard to the voyeuristic appetite we have for watching extreme on-screen violence, for example. I think we all struggle with what you call the “double thrust” between disillusionment, with the new technologies and their virtual reality, and attraction, even to looking at what some moral sense in us tells us is “forbidden.” Of course, “mechanical reproduction” does have redemptive or recuperative qualities, too; the MUTABOR section entitled “Palmyra”—available in the current issue of the BU journal ARION—explores these effects, whereby digital image archives have allowed us to reconstruct monuments destroyed by human barbarism. (This was the case of the destruction of the Roman Arch at Palmyra by ISIS, for instance, and its reconstruction by the Institute for Digital Archaeology.)

Again, with regards to my own relationship to technology, you already mentioned Sontag’s book On Photography, which I read as a meditation on our (lapsarian, Edenic, Satanic) seduction by looking. The background reading for the poem has led me to Barthes, Baudrillard and other thinkers as well; indeed, this is the first time that a poem of mine has been informed by a set of conscious philosophical propositions. Thus I suppose you could say that I have had to rethink my relationship to technology, but less with regard to gadgets than with regard to what a poet might spend his life exploring in poetry, which is beauty and its representation in art. And the religion of beauty (for all the hazards of a nineteenth-century Aestheticism attached to that term) is part of what my new book Stumbling Blocks: Roman Poems is all about.

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BillPattersonKKportrait(8.16)Karl Kirchwey has received the Rome Prize as well as NEA, Guggenheim, and Ingram Merrill grants and the Cato Prize for Poetry. His seventh book Stumbling Blocks: Roman Poems was published in October 2017, and his anthology Poems of Rome is forthcoming from Everyman’s Library in April 2018. He translated Paul Verlaine’s first book as Poems Under Saturn (2011) and has also translated work by Italian poets Giorgio Vigolo and Giovanni Giudici. His long poem-in-progress Mutabor (of which “Speedlooker” is a part) has been appearing in periodicals for the past ten years or so. He is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Boston University, where he is serving as Interim Associate Dean for the Humanities in 2017-18. See what he’s published in AGNI here.

 

Peat PhotoNative to the rolling British midlands and the great metropolis of Toronto, Lauren Peat is a current poetry MFA candidate at Boston University and an intern at AGNI. Her work has appeared in Acta Victoriana and the UC Review.

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Love and Androids: Questions for Julianna Baggott

in response to Baggott’s story “The Velveteen Lover, or How Androids Become Real” (AGNI 86)

Grace Yun for AGNI: How do you think technology changes aspects of writing about love? What is your take on dating apps or movies like Marjorie Prime or Her?

If you put the amount of words that my 17-year-old writes to his girlfriend on a given day via text and put it alongside a Victorian courtship, those two groups would have similar word counts. Whereas my generation in courting had very few written words. We talked. So, texting in particular feels old school and writerly. The kind of language has shifted. Emojis are efficient. And I’m definitely not walking around assuming my son’s texts read like a Victorian courtship. Neither did my corded landline phone calls. Still and all, love is love. I don’t know that it changes very drastically. It might not even change much with an AI. It didn’t in HER.

GY/AGNI: What was so striking about your Velveteen lover character was his very human desire to become real. What was the process of creating these toy-characters like, especially the Velveteen lover? Was there any anxiety in creating him?

As this story is a re-envisioning of The Velveteen Rabbit, much of what was given to me by the formal constraints of trying to stay as close as possible to the original informed the characterization.

Of course, a velveteen rabbit and a velveteen AI sex toy don’t seem to have very much in common on the surface. But the more tightly I forced myself to adhere to the original work, the more interesting the characters became. The slightly antiquated language and unusual descriptions created a strange and strained world. The formal choice at the start was a serious bit of world building. There was no anxiety in that, only collaborative playfulness. I’ll likely never have another writing process like it ever again.

GY/AGNI: What is a toy you truly cherished and loved?

There was this field goal kicker who wore a helmet that you could smash and he’d kick. I loved him because I’d desperately wanted the gift as seen on TV and because he was immediately taken over by my father and brother who smashed his head too hard and broke him on Christmas morning. So, I never got to play with the toy.

This admission now makes me wonder if my entire story is a masked tale of my unrequited love. I am uncomfortable.

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AGNI JBJulianna Baggott is the author of over twenty books, including two New York Times Notable Books of the Year, Pure and Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders. Her latest is a collection of poems called Instructions, Abject & Fuming. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, AGNI, The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere, and read on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. She is a professor of screenwriting at Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts and faculty director at Vermont College of Fine Arts. See what she’s published in AGNI here.

 

GYGrace Yun, an intern at AGNI, is from Los Angeles. She is in the BU fiction program. Her grandmother is her muse.

Reflections on Beauty and Writing: Two Questions with Chad Davidson

Bart Kuipers for AGNI: I liked the way you reflect on beauty in your piece “Mutatis Mutandis” (AGNI 86), and especially the idea that imperfection and transience are key elements in appreciating it—as you quote Stevens, “Death is the mother of all beauty.” Reading your poem “Cockroaches” made me wonder: How do these notions of beauty influence your poetry? Are you aware of them when you write?

The essay on Spoleto started with a rather simple anecdote. As the piece makes clear, I run a study abroad program in Italy for my university. Each year, students are simply stunned by the place, and will almost inevitably say to nobody in particular (kind of to themselves or to the air itself), “This is so beautiful.” Writers constantly want to challenge the easy adjective, though, and hunt instead for linguistic precision. What precisely is beautiful about Spoleto? Could I inventory it, pay homage to that impulse we have (especially we Americans) to call Italy beautiful? Beauty can be a complex synthesis. It can also be quite simple. The essay tries to shed light on some of the ways I tried to answer that question: what specifically about Spoleto (and about Italy more generally) is beautiful?

As for how that relates to or influences my poetry, I am sure it does. Poetry (any imaginative writing, really) is concerned with aesthetics, even (and perhaps especially) when the object under inspection is not often categorized as beautiful. I suppose the Cockroach poem you reference and this Spoleto essay attempt to answer the same question but have arrived there from opposing poles.

BK/AGNI: You ask the question “Where doesn’t history transform a place, yes, but also warp the air around it, the way a desert highway trembles in heat?” and make the observation that “Time, […] forms a storage place just large enough for nostalgia.” I’m wondering: Do you feel history transforms the perception of a poem over time in that sense?

Most definitely. My appreciation of certain poems changes, expands (in some cases contracts) over time, just as my appreciation of any artwork or city or food will change. The specific issue in the part of the essay you cite, however, is how time itself provides for our nostalgia. History writ large—and not that particular building or monument or window box of geraniums—is often what we desire most of Italy (even if we are not conscious of it). The question, I think, is this: when we see the old cobbler, off a cobblestoned street of a medieval city center, do we see the cobbler or just a complex we might identify as “old-world charm”? I was interested in that noise, that disturbance, that double vision.

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AGNI CDChad Davidson’s most recent collection of poems is From the Fire Hills (Southern Illinois UP, 2014). Recent essays and poems appear or are forthcoming in Five Points, Gettysburg Review, Yale Review, Kenyon Review, and others. He serves as professor of literature and creative writing at the University of West Georgia near Atlanta and co-directs Convivio, a summer writing conference in Postignano, Italy. See what he’s published in AGNI here.

Revisitations: Two Questions with Dilruba Ahmed

AGNI: You use repetition to great effect in your poem “Choke” (AGNI 85). How do you know what bears repeating in your work, and how does the repeated word or phrase change (for you, hopefully for a reader) as you bring it back again? In other words, what do you expect repetition to do?

Ahmed: First, thanks for your kind words about my poem, David! My poem “Choke” is sort of a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” in two voices: an unidentified interviewer, and a rural Indian farmer. I can’t say I really know what bears repeating in my poems, but in this case, the voice of the interviewer seemed loud and insistent as I wrote, as though the urge to repeat the questions arose from the interviewer’s dissatisfaction with the initial response. So maybe the interviewer’s repetition stems from a desire to both clarify and undermine the farmer’s replies. At the same time, by giving the farmer a chance to reply more than once to the same question, I think I hoped to create a sense of accumulation, with a larger story emerging bit by bit from snippets. I also hoped to convey a kind of layering and revision that would compel the reader to question both the interviewer and the respondent, with the farmer at times responding to the inquiry with a kind of counter-inquiry. In addition to repeating some of the interviewer’s questions and part of the farmer’s replies, I tried playing around with the repetition of the word “choke.” I was interested in thinking about the various connotations and uses of the word, both the physical act of choking or being choked, as well as the more abstract uses of the term in “choke off” or “chokehold.”

AGNI: One of the things that stands out in your poem “The Feast”(also AGNI 85) is your use of camerawork; you use description to move the reader’s attention from the speaker’s father to the food, from the food to the river, and then on to the children, and so on. How conscious were you of this camerawork in the writing process? How did you know what needed attention, and when?

I wrote “The Feast” about a year and a half after my father died of multiple myeloma. I was visiting a new river park with my kids, the kind of picnic spot my parents visited frequently when I was a child. For a long moment, I felt as though I had somehow stepped outside of time as we conceptualize it, as though the past and present had collapsed. While I did not actually “see” him, I felt my father’s presence very deeply in that park. I suddenly became hyper-aware of all of the seemingly concrete, physical details of the setting: the grass, the trees, the moss, the water. But all the while, I was aware of something else happening. The experience was strange but somehow comforting, as though I’d been given a chance to revisit a familiar dream that was meant to represent real life. So I think that, as I wrote the poem, I was compelled to convey the sensory details of the land and water, perhaps as a counterweight to the strange alteration of time that I had felt.

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Photo credit: Mike Drzal

Dilruba Ahmed’s debut book, Dhaka Dust (Graywolf Press, 2011), won the Bakeless Prize. Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, and Poetry. New work is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Copper Nickel, 32 Poems, Ploughshares, and Aquifer. Her poems have been anthologized in Literature: The Human Experience (Bedford/St. Martin’s), Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas), and elsewhere. Ahmed is the recipient of The Florida Review’s Editors’ Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize, and a Katharine Bakeless Nason Fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Find out what she’s published in AGNI here.

Fear, Love, or Both: A Question with Megan Harlan

AGNI: Your essay “Spider Season” (AGNI 85) brings so many wide-ranging things together, all connected to the central element of spiders: danger, superstition, beauty, home, cultural differences, childhood, and parenthood. How did you know, in writing, which connections you wanted to include, and which (if any) you would ultimately decide to exclude?

Harlan: “Spider Season” began when I noticed, one Fall day, just how many spiders were living on my front porch, because I refused to sweep them away, despite my longstanding arachnophobia. Spiders, as I say in the essay, comprise my one true phobia, yet you’d never guess it to see me near a spider now. How had this happened? Had I actually matured out of my fear? Not exactly: I’d instead developed a deep, if admittedly silly superstition surrounding them. My second awareness: This superstition had cropped up when I became a parent—which also coincided with my settling into the first real home in my life. I’d moved around almost constantly growing up, and “home” had always been a tricky, mysterious subject for me. Yet now I had one—and it was often crawling with spiders.

I started reading about spiders, and the more I learned and remembered about them, the more moved I was by their architectural prowess, their relentless and complex home-building. And that led me to consider my own relationship with the family home, with the psychological resonances of architecture. Though I wasn’t sure where I was headed, I wanted to write the essay as a patterning of ideas, memories, and emotions about spiders, using the simple structure of eight sections to both connote my subject and give me the freedom to wander within it.

It’s very true that—at the risk of confusing creatures and metaphors—this was magpie sort of writing: I kept noticing shiny things off in the distance and bringing them back to the nest. I filled the essay with all the spidery associations that occurred to me—whether pulled from mythologies, religions, the natural world, or aesthetics. And there were so many spider-related incidents involving childhood—my own and my son’s.

But each element had to pass what I’ll call the fear/love test: Did it matter enough to me to strike fear, inspire love, or—best of all—both? This was a very helpful measure in culling my material. I jettisoned almost immediately, for example, the time a spider dropped into my eyelashes while I was watching a movie at a theater: While an icky, startling, and somewhat comical experience (at least, I’m imagining, from the other movie-goers’ perspectives), it didn’t touch on much else.

This measure no doubt explains why family became a central subject in the piece. Parenthood can trip off spontaneous memories of our own childhoods, revealing a funny, everyday metaphysics, the time travel involved in our experience of raising children, as former children ourselves. I often find myself thinking, “When I was his age…”—while also trying to spare my son too many of these musings. But these ideas can be so rich to explore, and nowhere better—at least for me—than in the essay. It’s a form elastic enough to depict and structure associative thinking, the intuitions that give shape to our ideas.

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Megan Harlan photoMegan Harlan grew up on four continents and now lives in Berkeley, CA. She is the author of Mapmaking (BkMk Press/New Letters), winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. Her nonfiction and poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse, The New York Times, Hotel Amerika, TriQuarterly, Catamaran, The Common, American Poetry Review, and Poetry Daily, among other publications. She holds an MFA from New York University’s Creative Writing Program and works as a writer and editor. Find out what she’s published in AGNI here.

Trying to Make Sense of an Absence: A Question with Evanthia Bromiley

AGNI: Your story “If the City Falls” (AGNI 85) focuses on characters who are experiencing the same thing—a bombing—while keeping them apart for most of the story. It’s such a striking choice. I think the choice serves the story well, but why did you choose to isolate the characters from one another?

Bromiley: I think it has something to do with the inefficacy of language in times of trauma.

During World War II, my grandmother was interned at a work camp in Germany. Whatever happened in those years—and I know very little about her, can only surmise—drove her crazy. After the war, she had my mother, but she couldn’t care for her; she abandoned her. My mother and her brothers were split up and given to relatives to raise. That’s something my mother has never been able to forgive.

I never met my grandmother, but I remember the day she died; we heard over the phone. I must have been ten, about the same age she left my mom. The phones still had those long, loopy cords, and my mom kept wrapping that cord around her wrist. My grandmother was asking her to come, please come, to her bedside. And my mom couldn’t. She said no; she didn’t say much else. Afterwards my grandmother died, and the day went on as usual. Judaism, traditionally, is matrilineal: every child of a Jewish mother is considered a Jew. Yet in my family, there’s this rift in the maternal line.

So I think something of this absence made its way into the center of “If The City Falls”—invention in place of fact, feeling in place of memory. Your question makes me wonder if rifts like these open in the absence of words. We need words to express these things, with each other, I think. A lost story is dangerous. That’s why so many people tried, at all costs, to preserve testimony. Emanuel Ringelblum, for example, buried sheaves of archives in milk cans, beneath the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto—he knew these events were unprecedented; they must be preserved. It’s possible that if my mother knew my grandmother’s story, she could have forgiven her. It’s also entirely possible she wouldn’t have—but she would have had the chance to try, a choice. Instead we have this impenetrable silence: no one speaks of it. So when people say the Holocaust and the events leading up to it has been written, or can’t be, well, I think that’s not quite true. It’s this strange, human paradox: Words cannot rectify the evil truth of what happened. What might also be true is we have to try, anyway, to find words, to make sense of an absence. That paradox isolates my characters, and is what I’m trying to explore in “If the City Falls.” The characters try to reach each other through the ruin, and even though they’re very close… there’s the inefficacy of words to face up to something like that.

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Evanthia Bromiley Evanthia Bromiley lives, writes and teaches in Durango, Colorado. She is the recipient of a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Lisel Mueller scholarship, and the 2017 emerging fiction fellow at Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop. Currently she attends Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. “If the City Falls” is her first published story. Find out what she’s published in AGNI here.

I Use My Demons as Fuel to Write: A Question with Qais Akbar Omar

AGNI: The story you tell in your piece “In the Ring” (AGNI 85) is singularly powerful. The way you tell it, when you were younger, you poured the horror of your wartime experiences into boxing. Now, though, you’re pouring those experiences into writing. How is it different (and how is it the same), turning to writing the way you once turned to boxing?

(Note to the reader: Omar’s answer includes necessarily graphic depictions of violence)

Omar: I feel two types of pain: physical and psychological. I can easily deal with the first kind. I either take a pill, or I bear it and tell myself to tough it out. As for the psychological pain, I have been grappling with it since I was ten. Most of it is related to the memories of the years of civil war and the Taliban, when thousands of rockets and bombs started raining all over the country.

The civil war in Afghanistan started in 1992. I was ten years old when the first rocket landed in our neighborhood and killed my friends who were playing on the street in front of our house. An hour earlier I had been playing with them, shooting marbles and flying kites. All that remained of them were some pieces of flesh clinging from the tree branches and their blood smeared on the road and walls. I wish my parents had stopped me from seeing all those things. But even if they had, how could they prevent what was to come in the next five years?

Human life was cheap. I saw hundreds of dead bodies, body parts, and men being killed in front of me in many ways: being pushed from a ten-story building, bitten by a man who acted like a dog, and shot by a sniper perched on top of tall buildings and mountains. I was also forced to watch women being raped and giving birth in front of me.

In 1996, when the Taliban took over Kabul, I was forced—along with my classmates—to witness the hands and legs of alleged thieves being amputated in the middle of a roundabout near our house. The next week, they forced us to watch how they toppled a wall on a gay man and shot a woman for infidelity.

At the time, when these horrors were happening in front of my eyes, I didn’t think about them twice. I was too busy struggling to survive, pummeling the punching bag for hours every day to get rid of those images in my head. After 9/11, when the Americans intervened and kicked the Taliban out of the picture, we had a few years of peace, and I did not have to worry about my survival every minute of the day. But my past started to catch up with me.

The memories of the years of war haunted me through nightmares, and other times they attacked me at unexpected moments. For instance, I could be having a nice conversation with some friends about movies, gardening, or something completely unrelated to war. Suddenly, a single word would trigger some of those horrible memories and bring them to the surface. I would feel hot and sweaty as though I had run for miles. Then I would get agitated, and my hands and body gestures would no longer be in my control. Immediately afterwards, I would feel a traveling contraction in certain parts of my body. Now it was in my legs, the next minute in my arms, or neck, or temples. Suddenly, I would feel an intense pain in my guts. I had to lie down.

Now let me tell you how I dealt with them. For about ten years I used boxing as a tool to get rid of the memories. Almost every day, I pummeled the punching bag for hours and exhausted my body so that I did not have any energy left for thinking and pondering over the past. Sometimes when I didn’t have the chance to do that, I turned to prayer and meditations. Other times I sat in a corner and pinched my legs or my arms, or I took a nail and poked it into my thighs, arms, and chest. Sometimes I read, or I watched a pleasant movie, or I listened to upbeat music. They all helped, but nothing had a lasting effect.

When I turned twenty-three, I started to write as a form of therapy. At the time, I was living in Kabul with my family, and there was no psychiatrist in Kabul. Even today, there are only a few psychiatrists in Afghanistan. Many people there don’t believe in mental health treatment, though almost everyone needs it.

Writing about the past was not easy at first. I cried writing. Sometimes tears rolled out of my eyes and blurred my vision, but I didn’t stop. After years of boxing, I knew how it felt to win a boxing match in the ring when hundreds of people cheered for me. Every boxer lives for those few minutes of thrill. While I was grappling with those memories and pouring them onto the page, I felt as though I was in a ring, not fighting my opponent but my demons, and the spectators were cheering. However, there were times that despair leaked into my heart and I felt I was losing because the intensity of mental pain was too high. While a boxing match in the ring can last for more or less than an hour, this new fight lasted for months. “How long can I go on fighting with my inner demons?” I have asked myself a hundred times. There were moments that I doubted myself. “Instead of rethinking those memories, I better push them to the far back of my mind,” I have told myself a dozen times. But my will did not let me stop and retreat.

The battle went on for almost three months, during which I lost about forty pounds from a lack of eating and sleeping, but every day I noticed that I was about to win because I could see the pile of papers building in front of me. I stopped when I reached page 750, and nearly half of all the major events from my past were recorded in those pages.

From that day onward, I felt as though my past no longer belonged to me anymore. It was contained in those papers. But my past is my past, and it will always be with me to the day I die. They still haunt me in my sleep, but not as much as they used to.

Years later, I shared those pages with some friends, and they encouraged me to publish them as a book. I did, and I called it A Fort of Nine Towers, which has now been translated into over twenty languages.

An engine needs fuel to run. Now I use my memories as a fuel for writing and telling stories of my countrymen and women. Sometimes they make me run so hard and fast, I crash for a few days or even weeks, and I can’t produce a single word. But over time, I believe, I will learn how to control the demons inside of me.

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IMG_3422 BIO Qais Akbar Omar is the author of A Fort of Nine Towers, which has been published in over twenty languages, and the co-author of A Night in the Emperor’s Garden. Omar has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Sunday Times, The Globe and Mail, and The Southern Review, among other publications. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. In 2014-15, he was a Scholars at Risk Fellow at Harvard University. Find out what he’s published in AGNI here.