Friday Finds: Ahmed Shafie, ‘I Did Not Find Poetry Where I Left It’

Robin Moger has translated several poems, as well as a novel excerpt, by Ahmed Shafie; the latest for the Spring 2017 issue of Seedings magazine:

Shafie is an Egyptian poet, novelist, and translator, author of And Other Poems (2009) and the novel The Creator (2013). He’s also translated work by Charles Simic, Billy Collins, Lucille Clifton, and others  into Arabic.

Shafie was a 2014 International Writing Program resident; his translation of Russell Edson’s Collected Prose Poems was one of Muhammad Abdelnaby’s “favorite reads” of 2015.

The newly translated poems open:

In his other life Issa wished to be a white butterfly and when he had achieved that, wished to be a cherry blossom.

The cherry blossom remembered that Issa had never in his life picked a blossom, for which reason he was a fool.

It thought: that which wished to be a white butterfly was a fool and that which wished to be a cherry blossom was a fool.

The cherry blossom wished that somebody might pick it and did not know if this was a natural thing for cherry blossoms to feel.

Keep reading from the poems in Seedings.

Also translated by Robin Moger:

11 poems by Ahmed Shafie

An excerpt from The Creator

Two poems by Ahmed Shafie