Urgent Translation: The Tale of Hungry Dogs


even without a country you can survive
like a dog
and like a stray dog
the world is my country
you can talk
like a utopian
like a utopian dog
but if anyone you walk by
gives you a kick
if everyone sics their dogs on you, wherever you go
if no one admits your homelessness
if no one wants to adopt you
and if, in the whole world
there’s not even a bone
from some stray’s corpse for you to gnaw on
then you may need an owner and a country
just to be a dog!


Ferîd Xan

Ferîd Xan is a Kurdish poet. He was born in the village of Înaqa, in Gimgim, in Mûş province, in Northern Kurdistan, in 1979, and has lived in Germany since 1994. He began writing poems in his youth. His first book, Kemana min mîna gundekî digirî ("My Violin Weeps Like a Village"), written in Kurdish, was published when he was 19 years old. In 2003, his second book, Altı katlı in-san kulesi ("Six-Story Human Tower"), written in Turkish, was published in Istanbul. He has been the editor at the Germany-based Kurdish magazine Amara for two years, and has also hosted the literary TV program Ba û Ka on the Mezopotamya television network for two years.

Jiyar Homer and David Shook

Jiyar Homer is a translator, editor, cinephile, and language enthusiast based in Southern Kurdistan. He speaks Kurdish, English, Spanish, Arabic, and Persian, and is presently learning Portuguese. He is a co-editor and a translator at the Kurdish literary magazine Îlyan, which means “nest.” He was also a co-founder, co-editor, and translator at the Kurdish cinema magazine Cine-na, from its beginning in 2017 until its closing in 2018. He has translated many works of fiction, interviews, essays, and poems from the aforementioned languages into Kurdish and vice-versa, and those translations have been published in various magazines and newspapers. His current projects include a co-translation with David Shook of the short stories of Farhad Pirbal into English and Spanish.

David Shook is a poet, translator, and editor based in Southern Kurdistan. Their most recent book-length translations are Jorge Eduardo Eielson’s Room in Rome and Pablo d’Ors’ The Friend of the Desert. Their Spanish-language collection Atlas estelar is forthcoming in 2020. Their current projects include a co-translation with Jiyar Homer of the short stories of Farhad Pirbal into English and Spanish.

Copyright (c) Ferîd Xan, 2006. English translation copyright (c) Jiyar Homer and David Shook, 2020.