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At the Border, 1979 by Choman Hardi. Today we are learning to … Interpret and analyse Choman Hardi’s poem ‘At The Border, 1979’.

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Presentation on theme: "At the Border, 1979 by Choman Hardi. Today we are learning to … Interpret and analyse Choman Hardi’s poem ‘At The Border, 1979’."— Presentation transcript:

1 At the Border, 1979 by Choman Hardi

2 Today we are learning to … Interpret and analyse Choman Hardi’s poem ‘At The Border, 1979’.

3 Questions to consider: 1.What reasons could a person have for leaving the country where he/she was born? Why might that person return? 2.If you could live somewhere else where would it be and why would you want to live there? 3.What are the advantages of living where you live? What are the disadvantages? 4.What things imprison us? 5.How would you feel if you were forced to live in another country? 6.In what ways has this country benefited from immigration?

4 Choman Hardi Born 1974, Kurdistan (region of Iraq), moved to Iran in 1975, returned Family had to flee again when Saddam Hussein started to use chemical weapons on Kurdish people. Came to UK in 1993 as a refugee. Studied at Oxford University and UCL. One of the youngest poets to have her work displayed on ‘Poems on the Underground’ series. First English collection of poetry – Life For Us (2004), also has 3 Kurdish book published. Started to write in English to share poetry with her friends – very important to her. Tried translating Kurdish poems into English but found it didn’t really work – e.g. Kurdish poems use more adjectives than English ones PhD researching forced migration of Kurdish women in Iran and Iraq. Also a painter and translator.

5 Where? When? What? Iran/Iraq War - First Persian Gulf War Kurds support Iran – Saddam Hussain punishes Kurds for this by repeatedly using chemical weapons on them.

6 At the Border, 1979 by Choman Hardi ‘It is your last check-in point in this country!’ We grabbed a drink – soon everything would taste different. The land under our feet continued divided by a thick iron chain. My sister put her leg across it. ‘Look over here,’ she said to us, ‘my right leg is in this country and my left leg in the other.’ The border guards told her off. My mother informed me: We are going home. She said that the roads are much cleaner the landscape is more beautiful and people are much kinder. Dozens of families waited in the rain. ‘I can inhale home,’ somebody said. Now our mothers were crying. I was five years old standing by the check-in point comparing both sides of the border. The autumn soil continued on the other side with the same colour, the same texture. It rained on both sides of the chain. We waited while our papers were checked, our faces thoroughly inspected. Then the chain was removed to let us through. A man bent down and kissed his muddy homeland. The same chain of mountains encompassed all of us. CLICK HERE TO PLAY

7 Context: Iraq Iraq is credited as first civilisation (the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers). The culture is very old and there is a sense of the ancient ingrained in the people. Iraq has been a disputed region for centuries. In 1926 the modern Iraqi state included the regions of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul under the rule of the British, however this changed in 1932 with independence. Several coups and occupations followed until 1979 when Saddam Hussein took over. Soon after, Iraq came into conflict with Iran. Hussein punished the Kurdish people for supporting Iran by using chemical weapons against them. When the Iraq–Iran War ended in 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, causing the start of the First Gulf War. The end of the war saw renewed attacks on the Kurdish and Shiite populations, as well as continual conflict with the UN. The conflict culminated in the Second Gulf War (2003), which was justified by claims that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction…

8 ‘It is your last check-in point in this country!’ We grabbed a drink – soon everything would taste different. Note how senses are used in this poem – to what effect? The poem is broken into 7 stanzas. What happens in each – why structured this way?

9 The land under our feet continued divided by a thick iron chain. Hardi uses many pronouns, e.g. us, we, I. Why do you think she does this? What effect do they have? What is the effect of placing the word ‘divided’ at the beginning of a line?

10 My sister put her leg across it. ‘Look over here,’ she said to us, ‘my right leg is in this country and my left leg in the other.’ The border guards told her off. direct speech used frequently – what effect does it have? Where do lines end in the poem - and why?

11 My mother informed me: We are going home. She said that the roads are much cleaner the landscape is more beautiful and people are much kinder. Why italics? What is implied by “she said”?

12 Dozens of families waited in the rain. ‘I can inhale home,’ somebody said. Now our mothers were crying. I was five years old standing by the check-in point comparing both sides of the border. Which people are mentioned specifically? Do you think it is significant that a father is not mentioned? What is the weather like? What does this suggest? When are short sentences used? What is their effect? Effect of placing at end of a line?

13 The autumn soil continued on the other side with the same colour, the same texture. It rained on both sides of the chain. Repetition – why? What effect ? What connotations does this word have? What does the word ‘autumn’ suggest? Does it just refer to the time of year? Why is the word ‘same’ repeated?

14 We waited while our papers were checked, our faces thoroughly inspected. Then the chain was removed to let us through. A man bent down and kissed his muddy homeland. The same chain of mountains encompassed all of us. What is the author saying here about the differences in her own country? why the word ‘chain’ has been used here? What does this suggest about the country they are returning to? What does the posture of the man suggest?

15 WATCH: Choman Hardi on her poetry PLAY


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