In time for Nowruz, we share the notebook “Spring Will Come: Writings from East Turkistan”—fifteen poems, short stories, and translations from writers connected to East Turkistan, the contested region in Central Asia bordering several countries, including Russia, India, Mongolia, and China.
Known by other names such as “Altishahr,” “Uyghurstan,” and “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China,” East Turkistan has been a site of tension and power struggle throughout history. Archeological artifacts, however, show that East Turkistan was also a site of flourishing trade and cultural exchange. Its historical importance as a Silk Road hub characterizes it as a connection between the East and the West, although as the people native to this region, guest editors Munawwar Abdulla and Rahima Mahmut assert their position that it is not just a transit point, but the destination.
East Turkistan has a powerful poetry and storytelling tradition, from nomadic oral epics to large online poetry salons. In this notebook, we seek to spotlight the literature and art of the region, as well as the people’s persistence that surfaces both in the work and in the making of it.
نەقەدەر گۈزەل- ھە / يوللار ئىچىدە / قايتىدىغان يول پەقەت ئۆيىگە |
Neqeder güzel–he / yollar ichide / qaytidighan yol peqet öyige |
of all the paths to take / is it not the most beautiful?
ئېقىپ كەتمەستىڭ كۆكتىن يۇلتۇزدەك، / سەن ئۈچۈن قانات، پەر بولغان بولسام |
Éqip ketmesting köktin yultuzdek, / sen üchün qanat, per bolghan bolsam. |
You may not have dropped from the blue like a star / if I were wings for you
ئۈمىدىم بۈگۈن خىيالدىن يۈكسەك |
Ümüdim bügün xiyaldin yüksek |
My hopes are greater than my thoughts today.
Fifteen poems, short stories, and translations from writers connected to East Turkistan to call forth Spring.