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December 14th, 2009

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11:23 am - Romany Women - Poetry Anthology
Like Water

Sar o Paj

an anthology of poems by Romani women


Editor’s Note

Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić

The idea for this book first came to me in October, 2008, during my participation in the seventh Romani Congress in Zagreb, Croatia. During a conversation with Dev Bhardway, Director of the India Intercontinental Cultural Association, Mr. Bhardway asked me if I would be interested in publishing my Romani and English work with them. Subsequently, I began to think about asking our women to support my idea to publish the first Romani women’s anthology of poetry.

At first I faced a number of disappointments: I understand that the bitterness of many of my sisters’ lives made them very critical of this project and of publishing their work without financial remuneration. But with this anthology my idea was to show the world - our Romani world and the whole world - our experiences, our dreams, our bitterness, and our lives. How can the world know about us if we remain quiet and say nothing?

Within time some of my sisters emailed me and expressed their willingness to work together on my idea, and we – eight women – gathered our poems. It is wonderful to find eight women together, writing a book like this. Eight women’s voices to speak their souls, their bitterness, their joy, and deeply personal view of their lives.

So often we women are excluded from our Romani communities, and under our male leaders it is not easy to speak our minds, express our ideas and make art. It was important to me to work together with our men, but most crucial was that men should be able to accept our work as equals. And I found the men: our kako Ronald Lee from Canada, and Janardhan Pathania, our brother from India, have helped us translate some of our poems into Romani.

There is no easy way to get aknowledgment or respect in our community, but our way, my sisters, is easier than for our women in the past. For singing and writing her poems our first Romani poet, Romani sister Bronislawa Wajs known as Papusza (Doll) was punished by our Romani brothers as “unclean” and excluded from the Romani community because of her writing.
We know what difficult lives Romani women have. We know how much strength our women need in order to write, along with our work in our families and communities. And here we are. The strength of our women prevails and lives no matter what efforts are made to silence us. We write in the spirit of Papusza.

With our honour to Papusza,
Hedina Tahirović Sijerčić

More info c/o: Djelem Djelem
Current Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Habibi Min Zaman - Balkan Beat Box

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:September 22nd, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)


I would love any information on this project! Please reach me at brandonpaulweaver@gmail.com My name is Brandon Weaver and I am starting a research project at the University of Washington concerning Romani literature.

Thank you!
[User Picture]
Date:September 23rd, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)

Re: Information

Try contacting the link at the end of the article directly. Thanks :)
Date:May 25th, 2015 05:15 am (UTC)
hi i was wondering if i could have my poems published in your book? thanks. i have so many.

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