Between Two Islands
Between Two Islands, ed. Ali Al-Jamri, is a multilingual poetry anthology showcasing the talent of the UK’s Bahraini community. Thirteen poets writing in English and Arabic explore diaspora, duality, resistance and yearning. The English and Arabic poems communicate with each other and are accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It is the first anthology of its kind for the community. Published by No Disclaimers. Supported by Arts Council England.
I am delighted to announce the launch of the Between Two Islands poetry anthology! In January – February 2021, thirteen Bahrainis living in the UK met weekly to read, learn and write poetry. We had people of all ages and with a variety of migration stories – some were born in the UK, some had taken refuge, others were studying. Our workshops, which were facilitated by Amina Atiq and Ali Al-Jamri, led the participants through a journey encapsulated in the weekly titles: “Heritage and Inheritance”; “Love and Conflict”; “Am I British?”; “What Remains?” and finally “Future”.
In December 2020, I announced the Between Two Islands project and invited participants to join. The idea at its heart was simple: what would happen if we brought together Bahrainis to express their unique diaspora community experience? While a few of us were poets, most were not: we had amongst us NHS doctors, engineers, students and everyone in-between.
This anthology is the delightful result of our hard work. It has been beautifully illustrated by our illustrator Fatema Al-Fanar and features poetry written in the course of the workshops.
The anthology is multilingual. Arabic poems have not been translated into English: it would not be right, having expressed our souls, to then try to justify that expression through translation. While both monolingual English and Arabic readers will find something to enjoy, the bilingual reader has the most to gain.
I have so much more to say and reflect on in the coming months about this project and this anthology. For now, I invite you to read and enjoy.
Buying print editions of Between Two Islands will help support future Bahraini community arts work! You can buy a copy here.