Welcome to the latest instalment of “Who’s Reading What.” In this series, contributors to The New Quarterly share their reading list and recommendations.
You can find Sadiqa de Meijer’s “True Places” in Issue 150.
I’m reading a book right now that was written by a 6-year-old in Oregon in the early twentieth century. I’ve never read anything quite like her perspective and wording – the work is funny and moving, and I already wish it wouldn’t end. It’s called Opal: The Journal of An Understanding Heart (adapted by Jane Boulton), and if the subtitle instils the same aversion in you as it did in me, please overcome that feeling and proceed to read it soon.
I’ve also been reading White Blight – a translated poetry collection by Swedish-Iranian poet and playwright Athena Farrokhzad. It’s an amazing work, a long poem in the voices of five of the speaker’s family members, spanning three generations. In phrases that I find both clinical and lyrical at once, the writer delves into the complexities of writing as a brown immigrant in northern Europe in this decade, and of being an immigrant anywhere at all.
What else is here on the pile… Looking for Lorraine – Imani Perry’s biography of Lorraine Hansberry. John Berger’s A Fortunate Man, which I’ve wanted to read for a long time, and is an interlibrary loan that happened to still get processed while the Ontario program shuts down. The library is crucial to my own reading, and the current provincial gouging of their funding is so wrong – books are life-giving things, on the practical and spirit levels, and it’s both unsurprising and infuriating that the cuts threaten access to reading in Indigenous and remote communities in particular. There’s a petition to the government here.
Sadiqa de Meijer’s poetry has appeared most recently in The Walrus, and the anthologies The Next Wave and Beyond Remembering. “True Places” is for Anne-Marie Turza.