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I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan Hardcover – April 1, 2014


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I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan + Songs of Love and War: Afghan Women's Poetry
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In The Tenth Parallel (2010), Griswold offered keen geopolitical insight by cataloging ongoing religious strife in contentious locales, including Indonesia, Nigeria, and Sudan. Here, the globetrotting Griswold recruits renowned photographer Seamus Murphy to provide the visuals, and turns her attention to Afghanistan in order to record a collection of landays, Afghani folk poems, typically sung by women in private. With the help of local guides and Pashto translators, Griswold convinces women to share couplets that touch on a wide range of emotions and themes, from love and grief to separation and war. Because the lyrics remain anonymous over generations, Afghan women use them to express freely their desires and frustrations, yet still risk violating Taliban strictures against song and dance. From heartbreaking indictments of fathers who sell their daughters into slavery to humorous, techno-savvy posts on a Pashto Landay Facebook page, Griswold’s selections illustrate the rich potential of this poetic form, at once contemporary and timeless. Murphy’s stunning photographs complement the text perfectly, capturing children at play in refugee camps outside Kabul, smiling U.S. soldiers pointing squirt guns, and armed militants marching through the mountains. A timely, indispensable, and unforgettable poetic documentary. --Diego Báez

Review

I Am the Beggar of the World is a great and satisfying work. I applaud Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy. It is an essential look at the women of Afghanistan and the voices of dissent at risk of being suppressed when the American forces withdraw. (Sahera Sharif, Member of Afghanistan’s Parliament, founder of nationwide women’s literary circle, Mirman Baheer)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374191875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374191870
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Wielezynski on April 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Job well done on this amazing book created by Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy which shines a light into a world of where women's voices have not been heard (ever) in this way by most of us. The poetry captured finally in written word is beautiful and telling of the souls and struggles of women in Afghanistan to be heard by those of us a world away finally. That and the spectacular presentation of the book makes it a must have if only to show support for the voices it captures. Thanks Eliza and Seamus for making it accessible and excellent work!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Madden on April 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The landays and women who wrote them are enlightening and inspiring. I went to a reading by Eliza Griswold and was so moved by the amazing prose these women have created and the lengths they go to in order to share them with each other, often risking their lives. It's devastating how these women and their voices are oppressed by the Taliban. Hearing these poems makes a great case for funding more education for girls in Afghanistan and other Taliban-run areas.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn Parsons on June 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is a chimera of short poems, explanations of their meanings to the women who sing them, and photos. These very short poems are like snaps of a rubber band on your wrist. They are not dense poetry, but quick jabs at real life. Don't be afraid of the fact that this is poetry - although many of the topics are hard (war, loss, a woman's life). I read it more quickly than I should have!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elise Wiarda on June 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful, moving and mesmerizing language. Courageous research. Stunning, haunting photographs. A work of great beauty. A book to read and re read over and over again.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tamsin on May 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Who knew there is an oral tradition of poetry common to Pashtun women in Afghanistan. Elisa Griswold's introduction to the concept and the story of her journey with a great photographer whose pictures illustrate this remarkable book makes this a book to keep and give.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mallory Sanford on July 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very inspiring and touching
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By Jerry L Van Es on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a well-written and very powerful book of poetry, prose, and photos. Griswold's work of art is another way of seeing a country Americans need to understand better--Afghanistan.
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