FROM THE EDITORS
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
This issue marks the beginning of a series of articles focusing on Iraq. We profile artists and writers shaped by and shaping Iraqi culture; and next month, Iraqis and Americans working together to bring justice to those who were tortured at Abu Ghraib prison.
Saadi Youssef, Iraq native, and one of the Arab world’s most revered poets, knows intimately the upheavals that have marked his country, especially in the second half of the twentieth century. Born in 1934 in Basra, currently living in London, Youssef visited New York for the first time in April when he was invited to participate in PEN American Center’s World Voices Festival.
There, Youssef — whose recently published English language collection of poems, Without an Alphabet, Without A Face (Graywolf Press), has gained an audience in the West — spoke about his country, the beauty of the Arab language, his deep engagement with the world, and life as an exile.
After Youssef read at Poet’s House on Spring Street, he introduced me to type font designer, Saad Abulhab, who created an Arabic type font read from left to right instead of the standard right to left.
“ Like millions of Iraqis, I first knew about Saadi through his beautiful poems,” says Abulhab — “Reading Arabic from Left to Right.” Abulhab, who for this issue has set Youssef’s poem, “Hamra Night (Red Night),” into the font he invented, shares how he met Youssef; what it’s like to work in two languages, Arabic and English; how and why he created his
font; and his feelings about Iraq.
In addition, we introduce a new Airmail columnist, Pilar Timpane — “Here is your Neighbor: This is Mexico” — who is working as a short-term missionary outside Mexico City.
“I was fascinated by the way every woman could be found cheerfully behind her stove warming tortillas on identical black skillets in identical plaid aprons with little pockets on the front,” says Timpane. “ Although the floors were dirt, and the windows replaced by panels of sheet metal; and the shower was a bucket full of water, people seemed content and believed that God was providing.”
But for Timpane, the reality of where she is and why she is there pierces her romantic vision. “At some point, however, the honeymoon ended,” she says. “Frustration, anger at the ridiculous injustice of this country’s social state versus my own, and the overall irritations and confusions that come with being a foreigner started to set in. It began to occur to me that I was a foreigner.”
Whether we choose temporary exile as a way to discover our place in the world, or have it thrust upon us, we can’t help but see the world through a prism of our own culture and of our birthplaces.
As Youssef says, “I have two options. One is to extend new roots and to be more attached to the real life of this place or another place — Nature — Culture — Human Beings. Another option is to live as an exile.
But, I always strive to choose the first option, to get involved, to extend my roots, to know my new place. That has saved me, really, and respecting people and culture has helped me to be balanced mentally. If you are not well balanced mentally, you can’t control your work. You can’t control your material, to work on it and with it to create art. That is it.”
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.
With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.
In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul