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Supplementary materials for teaching Issue 25 are listed below.
To accompany our portfolio of short stories from Kuwait
Explore our collected resources and lesson plans related to literary translation and to Arabic literature in translation. Also see materials featuring two of the portfolio’s translators: a podcast from The Common with Nariman Youssef on translating Issue 21’s portfolio of Arabic stories, and an interview with maia tabet (via ArabLit).
Before diving into the portfolio, students can learn important context about Kuwait by reading this overview of Kuwait (via Britannica), this ArabLit article on the recent history of English translation of Kuwaiti literature, this Fiker Institute article on women’s contribution to Kuwaiti literature, and these two World Literature Today articles by Mai Al-Nakib, the first a reflection on contemporary Kuwait as it recovers from war and the other a connection of the 1990 invasion and 2020 pandemic.
Homoud Alshaiyje’s piece “A Child Playing Between Checkpoints” references specific days in history; to provide additional historical context, students can read articles on the invasion of Kuwait on August 2nd, 1990 (via History.com) and Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad’s speech on September 27th, 1990 (via the Washington Post).
For further exploration, here and elsewhere
To provide additional historical context for Anna Badkhen’s “Albatross,” students should read about the social climate of Russia in the 1990’s, including this openDemocracy article on Russians’ mixed memories of the 90s and this University of Washington brochure summarizing the events of the decade. In “Albatross,” Anna Badkhen references this New York Times article about how climate change is affecting the mating habits of albatrosses. Students may also enjoy an essay by Badkhen featuring birds as a means of reflecting upon racism, violence, political uncertainty and environmental despair (via The Paris Review) and her Issue 18 fiction piece, “An Appointment in Samarra.”
After reading “Milagro,” students may also be interested in Rubén Degollado’s recent essay, “Home Before Sundown” on family and La Llorona (via Texas Highways) and a review of his novel “Throw,” published in The Common. Student’s may also like to explore other Latinx authors with our Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month reading list.
Students who enjoy “Grace’s Folly” and Jake Lancaster’s unique writing style can read his short fiction published elsewhere: “Higher Ground” (via Heavy Traffic), “The Crane Operator and the Farrier” (via Forever Mag), and “The Swamp Palace” (via X-R-A-Y).
Jeffrey Harrison’s essay “The Story of a Box” details his family’s relationship to Marcel Duchamp, Teeny Duchamp, and the Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Suitcase). Students may like to first read biographies of Marcel Duchamp (via The Met Museum) and Teeny Duchamp (via Artforum). They may also be interested in learning more about the Boîte (via the Cincinnati Art Museum).
Students reading “Ramadan in Saint-Denis” by Ala Fox may like to learn more about the French laïcité, or secularism, particularly how it interacts with Islam (via The Conversation). They may also like to read about the socioeconomic conditions of the banlieue, or French suburbs, and what it’s like to live there (via The Guardian).
Eugene Gloria’s poem “The Cicadas Are Really Loud” references José Rizal who fought for reform in the Philippines during the period of Spanish colonial ruling. Students can read more about Rizal here, and may also enjoy Gloria’s “Rizal upon Hearing David Bowie’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.’” See, also, The Common’s Filipino American History Month reading list.
To accompany “Matryoshka In Odessa,” students may read about matryoshkas here. They can also explore more of Diane Thiel’s poetry, which often involves time, space, and the universe, including “On Foot,” previously published in The Common, and “Questions of Time and Direction” (via Terrain).
Students seeking background information on Robert Cording’s “For Acedia” can read about the meaning of acedia (via The Conversation) and the life of Thomas Aquinas (via the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Students may also be interested in reading about Cording and exploring more of his poems (which often feature birds, his sons, mortality, and faith) on his Poetry Foundation page.
If students enjoy Tina Cane’s unique narrative voice and use of negative space in her poem “A Minor History Of Potato Chips,” they can read an interview with Cane on her writing process or explore more from her “A Minor History” poem series in our January 2017 and March 2017 poetry features.
See all of Issue 25.
Teach Issue 25