seamus murphy

Landays by Afghan Women

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Mirman Baheer, the Ladies’ Literary Society, in Kabul. Image by Seamus Murphy

The Landay is a twenty-two syllable two line poem – in Pashto, Landai means ‘short, poisonous snake’ and these short bursts of poetry certain reflect the definition. Academic, Nada Rajan explains, “Afghan women poetry occupies a unique place in literature. It is one of the strongest forces of Afghan culture. The major themes dwelt in it are displacement, healing, and rebuilding. Consequently the poetry is fragmented. Pashtun poetry, a variant of Afghan poetry has long been a form of rebellion for Afghan women, belying the notion that they are submissive or defeated.” (more…)