Wind plays in the branches. They bend.
Lovers at last coming together.
— Ibn Al-'Arabi, "Baghdad Song"
 
 

Barzakh is a multi-genre journal with an internationalist stance seeking work that transcends genre. “Barzakh” is a word/concept that names the connecting link, the “between” of something, such as different spheres of existence. As a temporal concept it can be, and historically was, considered an interval of time. For the great Arab mystic & poet Ibn Arabi, Barzakh is a kind of purgatory—the temporary and yet historical place which makes up this world where we live, love and labor, aware that what we need most to find our way through is what the poet John Keats called “negative capability,” i.e., the ability “of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” The Arabic word has the literal meaning of “barrier,” “veil,” and “curtain.”

 

 

Thus, traditionally seen as a separator, it is however also and more interestingly thinkable as a “between” that links, a liminality that creates previously negated space, and in that sense can be translated as “isthmus.” Emerging out of the English department at the University of Albany, SUNY, our focus is on innovative and experimental poetry and prose as well as socially engaged art. The idea of Barzakh is thus not to map a territory but to travel along boundaries, crisscrossing always-to-be-redefined regions, in the process creating rhizomatic assemblages, de- and re-territorializing language-intensities as shifting fields of forces.

We want to hear voices hidden and silenced, quiet and yearning, loud and impossible.

Words are infinite. Welcome to Barzakh.