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Film Screening and Q & A: Two Poets and a River

March 27 @ 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm

 |  FREE


March 27
6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy St
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

In a colorful photograph, several men play music or sing, with snow-covered mountains behind them.

This event does not require registration; see further details below.

Join us for a screening of the documentary film Two Poets and a River. Using the Oxus river as a topos, this film explores themes of love and loss through the lives and musical poetry of two Wakhi musicians, Qurbonsho in Tajikistan and Daulatsho in Afghanistan. These two poet-singers share a common language and culture and yet remain separated by vicissitudes of the 19th-centuray Great Game in Central Asia. In this struggle for strategic control, the Wakhan homeland of the Wakhi people became a buffer zone between Czarist Russia and the British Empire. The river Oxus, which became the border, ran right through its center. After the modern nation states of the U.S.S.R. and Afghanistan shored up their boundaries around 1930, the communities living along one side of the river were severed from their counterparts on the other side. The condition of being separated by a river in the region has been the basis for poetry about the feeling of separation (Persian firāq) and grounds the poets’ discussions of love and loss in their own lives as well as in their musical arts. Richard Wolf shot and produced the film over two and a half years (over the period from 2012 to 2020) with the editorial collaboration of Qurbonsho and Daulatsho.

Following the screening, there will be time for questions for Richard K. Wolf, Harvard professor and the film’s director, and Afghan musician Dawood Pazhman, whose work is drawn upon for the related Harvard course, Music and Politics in Afghanistan and Central Asia (Music 194R).

About this film:
Two Poets and a River, 2021 (Documentary Educational Resources; Wakhi, Tajik, and Dari with English subtitles; 105 min.)

Richard K. Wolf, Professor of Music and of South Asian Studies, Harvard University, Film Director
Dawood Pazhman, Artist-in-Residence, Department of Music, Harvard University

During regular museum hours (10am–5pm, Tuesday through Sunday), guests are invited to visit the museums’ water-themed installations on Level 2, in galleries 2550 and 2590.

Free admission, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The screening will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Doors will open at 5:30pm at the Broadway entrance.

Limited complimentary parking is available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

The Harvard Art Museums are now offering free admission every day, Tuesday through Sunday. Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museums.

This event is co-sponsored by Harvard’s Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program, and the Department of Music, with support from the Richard L. Menschel Endowment Fund.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at am_register@harvard.edu at least 48 hours in advance.