London’s Poetry International 2010: From Suheir Hammad to Adonis to Mourid Barghouti … and Back Again

If you ever wanted to experience Arabic and Arab-diaspora poetry, London’s Poetry International—at the Southbank Centre the beginning of this November—is the place to do it.

Featured poets include:

Brooklyn-Palestinian poets Remzi Kanazi and Suheir Hammad (read a review of the film Hammad is currently starring in, Salt of the Sea),

Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti and his Palestinian-Egyptian poet-son Tamim (the two will appear with acclaimed novelist Ahdaf Soueif, who translated Barghouti’s beautiful first memoir, I Saw Ramallah),

Palestinian-American poet Nathalie Handal and Palestinian-Dutch poet Ramsey Nasr (you can read an interview Handal conducted with Nasr on WWB; also Dar al Hayat yesterday reviewed Handal’s Love and Strange Horses),

Palestinian-American poet Lisa Suhair Majaj with Lebanese-American poet and memoirist Elmaz Abinader (and Paul Durcan and Paul Muldoon). Both Majaj and Abinader appeared in Banipal 38: Arab American Authors; Abinader’s current project is her memoir, The Water Cycle,

Iraqi poet Nabeel Yasin and Iraqi poet-novelist-critic Fadhil Al-Azzawi (since you asked, you can read my review of Al-Azzawi’s The Last of the Angels on The Quarterly Conversation),

Leading Emirati poet Nujoom al-Ghanem, (I write more about her here),

And…Adonis, appearing alongside Chinese poet Yang Lian.

More poetic events can be found on the Southbank Centre website, which says of this year’s festival:

Poetry International 2010 is about war and peace, with Palestine and the Middle East as a central focus. Join us for a week in the company of celebrated and emerging talent from around the world, reading, performing and translating poetry which transcends geographical faultlines and investigates the conflicts that haunt our history.

To follow Arab cultural events in London, stop by the “Arab in London” blog at I am even more jealous now that I see the Chucho Valdes/Ibrahim Maalouf concert mid-November. Alas, with climate change baring its teeth, one can’t even wish for a private jet.


  1. There is excellent poets in the festival like Najwan Darwish, Nouri Aljarah, Hyam Yred, Fady Joda who are not mentioned in this press release- I think they are much better poets from some of the mentioned here.

    1. John,

      Thanks for the information. If you wanted to elaborate at all about who you saw, when, what they read, your impressions…well, we’d always love to hear it.

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