I haven’t yet gotten my summer issue of Banipal (oh, my beloved Egyptian postal service! what good times we have had together!) but Youssef Rakha has posted his travel essay on his blog.
The bus is more than half empty when I get on…
An old woman in black scuttles down the aisle to my right; before I’ve had a chance to see her face, two glossy pamphlets are in my lap. They are manuals of prescribed supplications, precisely classified by subject, object, even time of day. I’ve seen them too often to maintain an anthropological interest. Looking out the window to my left, I slip the pocket-size compendia into the pouch on the back of the seat in front of me, where someone better disposed could pick them up. I manage to extract some change from my shirt pocket just in time for the dark-robed ghost scuttling back to pick up on her way; the briefest glimpse reveals unusually personable features.
What else do we know about Banipal 38 (sight unseen)? Apparently, it includes a comic monologue from Iraqi essayist and poet Hassan Abdulrazzak as well as something from Ghalia Kabbani. The three Emirati modernist poets that Banipal is dragging around the U.K. will also be in 38. (You can read a bit of their work here.)