Arabic Poetry Friday: Tamim Barghouti’s Latest, Submission Suggestions, Second Graders Read Adonis

Zeinobia has posted a new poem by Palestinian-Egyptian poet Tamim Barghouti, son of Egyptian novelist Radwa Ashour and Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti. The poem is “يا شعب مصر.”

Tamim Barghouti famously wrote “the poem of the Egyptian revolution,” which was oft-recited on al-Jazeera and in Tahrir. Although Barghouti has expressed his reservations about seeing his poetry in English, surely someone should give it a go.

Poetry Submission Suggestions: Two Lines

Two Lines magazine is now accepting submissions (of translations) for Two Lines Online year-round.  “Submissions received from July 1st through December 1st will also be considered for the annual print anthology.”

Two Lines Online has published just one translation from the Arabic—the poem “Wolves, Also” written by Ghassan Zaqtan and translated by Fady Joudah—so clearly they need your help digging up more.

Adonis for Second Graders

Some of you may have seen that a Grade Two teacher requested (your, my) help with an Adonis poem that she was presenting to her class. Apparently, the Adonis is part of a poetry curriculum created by the Gifted Education Center at the College of William and Mary.

The W&M educators had included Adonis’s “The Beginning of the Road” translated by Samuel Hazo.

This wouldn’t have been my choice, so I looked through Khaled Mattawa’s Adonis: Selected Poems for something that 1) literary-minded seven-year-olds could make something of but that 2) wasn’t too sexual or 3) violent or 4) hopeless. My best guess was “Rains.” The resident seven-year-old liked it, actually.


He holds the plow to his chest,
clouds and rain in his palms.
His plow opens doors
toward a richer possibility.
He scatters dawn on his field
and gives it meaning.

Yesterday we saw him.
On his path there was
a geyser of daylight’s sweat
that returned to rest in his chest,
clouds and rain in his palms.

Reuters: Poets condemn Syria’s “savage” repression

From Reuters:

“We demand that the Syrian regime immediate ceases these massacres and resorts to peaceful democratic dialogue,” said a statement issued by 20 participants in the Sixth Istanbul poetry festival from the Arab Middle East and Turkey.

Among them were Khaled al-Najar from Tunisia, Fawziyya Abu-Khalid from Saudi Arabia, Peter Laugesen from Denmark, Finnish Henrija Ringbom and Muzaffer Ozdemir from Turkey.

The declaration, which was sent to Reuters, said Syrian authorities “committed massacres against the Syrian people… marching for freedom and dignity and justice in a peaceful and civilised manner.”

The opening of Fawziyya Abu-Khalid’s “Mother’s Inheritance“:

You did not leave me an inheritance of necklaces for a wedding
but a neck that towers above the guillotine
Not an embroidered veil for my face
but the eyes of a falcon that glitter like the daggers in the belts of our men.
Not a piece of land large enough to plant a single date palm
but the primal fruit of The Fertile Crescent:
My womb.

Keep reading.

I’m reminded that Fawziyya Abu Khalid is one of Adonis’s favorite poets.