The City That Is Leaving Forever is a unique twenty-first-century time capsule: an instant-message exchange between Kashmir and British Columbia spanning more than five years in the lives of two Muslim Kashmiri women poets. In 2016, as India’s military carries out extrajudicial killings and imposes a lengthy curfew in Srinagar, Kurd is forced to cancel her family trip to Kashmir. Syed and Kurd confide in each other as the weeks and months pass, working through drafts of new poems, reading each other’s work, discussing multilingual poetics, the challenges of translation, and the contrasts of daily life in their two cities. The result is a rigorously feminist record of thinking through trauma as it unfolds and a document of life under military lockdown, “a book like a cluster of thorns with some few fragrant petals caught in them.”
Rahat Kurd is a poet, cultural critic, and editor living in Vancouver. Her first collection of poems, Cosmophilia, was published by Talonbooks in 2015.