This is one of the most fascinating things I’ve encountered in awhile. For hundreds of years, Pashtun women have traded stories, feelings and life wisdom in the form of two-line oral poems called landays. Eliza Griswold, a journalist and poet, traveled throughout Afghanistan to meet with Pashtun women (often in disguise) to learn more about daily life there through the exchange of poetry. Yet, with such circumscribed lives, the telling of each landay is actually a form of rebellion.
I’ll make a tattoo from my lover’s blood
and shame every rose in the green garden.
In the video below from the PBS Newshour, Eliza Griswold shares her story of collecting landays and the women she met. Really, it’s hella interesting. Additionally, Poetry Magazine has dedicated their June 2013 edition to the landays collect by Griswold and her collaborator, photographer Seamus Murphy.