Episode 42: Mahmoud Ababneh interviews Anahita Jamali Rad
Nov 16, 2022
In this interview, Anahita Jamali Rad discusses their poetry in relation to the vampiric elements of capitalism, the disposability of bodies, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified both. Rad also treats us to a reading of poems from their collection, still, and a discussion of resistance in political movements and mobilization, intertextuality, and subjectivity.
Mahmoud Ababneh is pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Calgary on Treaty 7 territory. His research centers around trans-Indigenous and postcolonial literatures, decolonization, and settler-colonialism. Mahmoud is currently teaching a at Bow Valley College. His work appeared in the Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies.
Anahita Jamali Rad was born in Iran and currently based in Tio’tia:ke (Joh-jaw-gay) on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Ga-niyen-ge-HAA-ga). Informed by anti-imperialist materialist theory, Jamali Rad’s work explores materiality, history, affect, ideology, violence, class, collectivity, desire, place, and displacement. They have published many chapbooks, and two full-length books of poetry, for love and autonomy (Talonbooks 2016) and still (Talonbooks 2021). With Danielle LaFrance, they co-edited the journal About a Bicycle, of which there were 5 issues. Anahita Jamali Rad is currently designing and co-editing a new small press called House House Press with David Bradford.
3:41 – Mahmoud and Anahita discuss the excitement and pains of moving to a new city
4:50 – Anahita discusses their experience with the publishing world and working as a writer during COVID-19 including the difference in energy between in-person and online literary events
8:43 – Mahmoud references the article, “Persian-Canadian Writers You’ve Got to Read” published by 49th Shelf
9:27 – Anahita discusses how they situates theirself as an Iranian writer
10:44 – Mahmoud brings up Anahita Jamali Rad’s book, still
10:54 – Anahita discusses the multiplicity of the word “still” and why they selected it as a title for their book
13:18 – Anahita discusses how they designed the cover for still
14:36 – Anahita discusses how stillness is a reaction and a movement in of itself
15:37 – Mahmoud references Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh’s Insurgent, Poet, Mystic, Sectarian: The Four Masks of an Eastern Postmodernism
16:14 – Anahita discusses the “I” and the “We” and the “This” and the “Beyond”
17:45 – Anahita discusses resistance and how to make political movements possible at all
19:46 – Anahita discusses the disposability of the body in the imaginary of technology
20:56 – Anahita reads “Log 1,” “Log 2,” and “Log 3” from still
26:53 – Anahita discusses how their poetry is trying to find ways to be a wrench in the cogs of the machine of capitalistic land extraction
28:55 – Mahmoud references Lou Reed’s song, “Perfect Day”
29:31 – Anahita discusses how they seek opposites in intertextual references that could be construed to mean the same thing as their work, but still offer contradiction
31:23 – Mahmoud references Lauren Berlant’s “Slow Death: Sovereignty, Obesity, and Lateral Agency”
31:32 – Anahita discusses how the things we desire could be driving us into a slow death and how they seeks to complicate the gaze
33:15 – Mamhoud references Vladimir Lenin’s “Lessons of the Crisis”
33:43 – Anahita discusses how societal contradiction can act and can come about
35:50 – Anahita reads “Unconcerned Compulsions,” “The Body Dislodged, Thick with Nothing but Presence,” and “When Hands Must Handle” from still
39:43 – Anahita discusses how the forms change throughout their book as they play with materiality and the experience of materiality
40:42 – Mahmoud references Theodore W. Adorno’s Minima Moralia
41:06 – Anahita discusses ceasing to exist as not necessarily a negative in our current capitalist society
TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library.
TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Shuyin Yu, Ryan Stearne, Shazia Ramji, Rebecca Geleyn, Mikka Jacobsen, Benjamin Ghan, Amy LeBlanc, Marc Lynch, and Mahmoud Ababneh.
Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.