Professors Receive $100,000 Grant to Translate Qassim Haddad

Qassim Haddad

Thanks to Sharjah Book Fair for pointing this out to me.

Two AUC professors will be supported by a $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant in their efforts to translate the poetry of Bahraini writer Qassim Haddad.

Professor Ferial Ghazoul is a scholar, critic and translator who has previously edited several AUC Press collections and and instructor John Verlenden is also a poet and short-story writer.

The two previously collaborated on translations of Edwar Kharrat’s Rama and the Dragon and Quartet of Joy by Egyptian poet Muhammad Afifi Matar. The latter translation won the Arabic Translation Prize from the University of Arkansas Press.

According to a release, “the centerpiece of Ghazoul and Verlenden’s translation will be Hadad’s Majnun Layla, a cycle of poems inspired by the tragically passionate story of a seventh-century Arabian poet, and known in variations from North Africa to India. A selection of poems and an introduction to the poet’s life and work will combine to create a comprehensive edition of Haddad’s work in English.”

Ghazoul and Verlenden have apparently been working with Haddad’s poetry and prose since 2003.

A number of Haddad’s poems are available, in English translation or in Arabic, on his website.

From the opening of “Stone,” translated by Khaled Mattawa:

No one knows stone like me.
I seeded it in the fetus of the mountain,
and I reared it on blossoms of metal.
It grew like a walking child
and I followed in its footsteps.
Its silence is a listening heart
and its solitude is an alphabet that teaches speech,
a burnishing that suffices for treasures,
and imprints itself on books and mirrors.
I read in it the glass of paradise, and the amulets of passion.
It rises lightly, and offers the wind the company of books,
like me.

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