Excerpts from Banipal 42: New Writing from the Emirates

Banipal 41 (Celebrating Adonis) has disappeared into the background on the magazine’s website just as speculation about the Parisian-Syrian poet has reached its highest froth in years: Could this really be Adonis’s chance at the prize of prizes?*

I still think no, although doubt is beginning to seep in. But, in any case, Adonis’s image has been replaced with Banipal 42: New Writing from the Emirates. My copy hasn’t yet arrived, but there is a good deal online:


The Call at Day’s End,” by Abdel Aziz Jassim, trans. Allison Blecker

Selected Poems, by Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim, trans. Fadhil al-Azzawi

“The World’s Heart” and “The Morning Starts with the Colour of Dust” by Nujoom al-Ghanem, trans. Khaled al-Masri 

Short stories

The Palm Tree said to the Sea, by Abdul Hamid Ahmed, trans. Thomas Aplin

Four Very Short Stories, by Aisha al-Kaabi, trans. John Peate

Novel excerpt

Running from a Lion, by Ali Abu al-Reesh, trans. Robin Moger


“On Doors” and “The Stations of Hakeem,” by Adel Khozam, trans. Raphael Cohen

I have a personal weakness for Nujoom al-Ghanem (you can read more of her work online at Jehat; more in translation on Banipal), and I did enjoy the poems translated here by Khaled el-Masri. I also found the possibilities of the first piece by Adel Khozam intriguing, and wish there was more reflective, essay-poetic writing about the changes that have transformed the Emirates in the last few generations.

*I will remind you, yet again, of what Denys Johnson-Davies said of Adonis in 1987, when he was on an apparent shortlist of four (with Yusuf Idris, Naguib Mahfouz, and Tayeb Salih) for Nobel Prize consideration: “Adonis could not be called a popular poet, and his decision to give up his actual Muslim name in favour of ‘Adonis’ did not endear him to many Arabs, quite apart from the fact that his poetry was above the heads of many readers….”