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Afghan artist/activist Somaya Ramesh and U.S. poet, translator, and military veteran Farzana Marie bring poetry and worlds together.
31 backers pledged $3,030 to help bring this project to life.

About

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We are really excited to share this unique initiative with the world! It is an exchange between women poets, a series of readings and conversations surrounding the forthcoming book I (Farzana Marie) compiled, translated, and edited, called Load Poems Like Guns: Women’s Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan (Holy Cow Press! 2015).

We need your support to help bring one of the poets featured in this book, Somaya Ramesh, to the United States to take part in these readings and share with us about life and art in today’s Afghanistan. We have been invited to read at the Tucson Festival of Books and other fantastic bookstores and venues in Arizona and along the West Coast, and can’t wait for these dynamic community events!

This project is a priority this year for our nonprofit, Civil Vision International. A major aspect of the initiative is to record for you and for the community a short VIDEO of the highlights of readings and conversations throughout this journey. We have a very talented photographer and videographer, Eric Hervey, working with us with, and he and his teammates are donating their time as well. Through the video, all of you and many more people will catch a glimpse of this experience and, we hope, be enriched by it!

The money raised through this campaign will go toward Somaya's ticket from Afghanistan to the U.S. If we raise more, that will go toward the rental car and gas to fund the road trip up the West coast, as well as flights to Seattle and back to Tucson.

Somaya Ramesh and I met in the summer of 2013, when I was in the city of Herat, Afghanistan working on research about contemporary women poets. Somaya is a poet and writer with three published books, but also a women’s rights activist and an elected member of the provincial council for her region of Herat in the West of Afghanistan.

I am a military veteran who served two years in Afghanistan and have a recently published poetry chapbook called Letters to War and Lethe.

Here is our tentative schedule and lineup of readings so far:

6 March, 7 pm: Tempe, AZ—Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S McClintock Dr. Tempe, 85283 

11 March, 5 pm: Forum on “Women Writing War”UA Poetry Center. 1508 E. Helen St. Tucson, 85721 (co-sponsored by the Poetry Center, UA School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Center for Middle East Studies, Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, Women’s Resource Center, the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts, and Civil Vision International!)

14 March, 4 pm: Tucson Festival of Books (Tucson, AZ)University of Arizona Kiva Room (Student Union)

15-16 March: Los Angeles area, CA (Reading & Reception in Altadena, e-mail farzanamarie@gmail.com for details!)

17 March: Monterey, CA (Reading & Reception, e-mail farzanamarie@gmail.com for details!)

18 March, 4 pm: UC Berkeley, Barrows Hall Room 254

20 March, 7 pm: Seattle, WA—Elliot Bay Book Company, 1521 Tenth Ave. Seattle, 98122 (on the eve of Nauruz, the Persian New Year!)

22 March, 4 pm: Portland, OR—Powell’s City of Books, 3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, 97214

To make this happen, we are working with so many people: the team at Civil Vision International, the Tucson Festival of Books, partners and departments at the University of Arizona, our beloved bookstores and hosts all over the Southwest and West Coast, and creative video collaborators!

Thanks for considering being part of our team, we look forward to sharing the adventure with you!

Risks and challenges

Right now we are waiting on Somaya's visa. With official invitation letters from Civil Vision International and the Tucson Festival of Books, we are hopeful that this visa will come through in plenty of time and with no problems, but this is something we have no control over.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    We are so thankful for your support and will share with you the link the video about the "Women's Poetry Exchange" performances, readings, and conversations!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Right on! We are so thankful for your support and will send you an Afghan postcard, as well as make sure you get the link to the video about the "Women's Poetry Exchange" performances, readings, and conversations!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Your support means the world! We will be thrilled to send you an Afghan postcard AND a beautiful broadside with one poem from each of us. You will also receive the link to the video about the "Women's Poetry Exchange" performances, readings, and conversations!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Poetry-lover, we love you! We will send you an Afghan postcard, a beautiful broadside of our poems, and a copy of Farzana Marie's poetry chapbook, "Letters to War and Lethe." You will also receive the link to the video about the "International Women's Poetry Exchange" performances, readings, and conversations!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    You rock! We will be thrilled to send you an Afghan postcard, beautiful broadside of our poems, AND a copy of the book, "Load Poems Like Guns: Women's Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan." You will also receive the link to the video about the "International Women's Poetry Exchange" performances, readings, and conversations!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Literary jackpot!
    We will send you an Afghan postcard, beautiful broadside of our poems, and TWO BOOKS: 1. "Load Poems Like Guns: Women's Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan" and 2. Farzana Marie's poetry chapbook, "Letters to War and Lethe." You will also receive the link to the video about the "International Women's Poetry Exchange" performances, readings, and conversations!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Zenda baasheyd!! (Afghan blessing: may you be alive/live long!) We will send you an Afghan postcard, beautiful broadside of our poems, TWO BOOKS: 1. "Load Poems Like Guns: Women's Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan" and 2. Farzana Marie's poetry chapbook, "Letters to War and Lethe," as well as a memento from Afghanistan. You will also receive the link to the video about the "International Women's Poetry Exchange" performances, readings, and conversations!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    You absolutely made our day...this is 10% of the total we are trying to raise! In addition to all of the rewards above, we would love to host you for dinner in Tucson, AZ (or any of the cities where we are traveling: Phoenix, LA, Monterey, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle) and have a private conversation about the project!

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Funding period

- (41 days)