Book Launches: ‘A Blade of Grass,’ ‘Louder than Hearts,’ ‘All the Battles’

The London launch of A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry is today, while Zeina Hashem Beck’s Louder than Hearts launches in Dubai on Sunday, November 19, and Maan Abu Taleb’s All the Battles, trans. Robin Moger, launches November 21 in London:

Designed by Belal Khaled.

The A Blade of Grass will be held at London’s P21 Gallery and will feature readings from poets Mustafa Abu Sneineh (Jerusalem/London) and Farid Bitar (Jericho/New York), translators Katharine Halls and Waleed Al-Bazoon, and the book’s editor, Naomi Foyle. 

The readings will be followed by a brief Q&A.

Those interested can register for a free ticket at Eventbrite or pay £3 at the door.

A Blade of Grass — a bilingual anthology that brings together new work by poets from “the Palestinian territories, from the diaspora, and from within the disputed borders of Israel” — was partially funded by a research grant from the University of Chichester and partially by a successful crowdfunding campaign. Together, they enabled two donations of £240 to be made to the legal campaigns of Palestinian poets Ashraf Fayadh (jailed in Saudi Arabia) and Dareen Tatour (jailed in Israel).


On Sunday in Dubai, Zeina Hashem Beck is hosting a launch event for her most recent collection, Louder Than Hearts, about which ArabLit’s editor said, “[it] carves out a shattering, sonorous new language from the interleaving of Arabic and English. It brings together not just words from the two languages but their poetic forms, songs, stock characters and collective memories. It borrows from the poetry of Iraqi poet Al Mutanabbi; the music of Umm Kulthum; the taste of kibbeh; and the grief of Aleppo. From the English, we hear echoes of the Harlem Renaissance, Nina Simone, William Shakespeare, Homer, a Greek chorus, ABC News and Franz Kafka.”


On November 21 in London, readers and pugilists can enjoy the launch of Maan Abu Taleb’s All The Battles, trans. Robin Moger, at Alef Bookstores Hammersmith location. Again, ArabLit’s editor: ”

Boxing, perhaps more than any other sport, is made for the modern novel. The sport is pared down to the most essential conflict, and what’s at stake is much more than winning – there’s also the risk of injury, disability, and perhaps even death. As a species, we have grown up around fist fighting. Saed thinks of one of his matches as the “latest performance of a timeless tale, told in a language that predated language itself”.

“Like Oates’s On Boxing, Abu Taleb’s book is not just about the thrills and anxieties of the sport. It’s about masculinity, social class, the contemporary media, movement, and choice. It’s a page-turner that could easily make non-readers fall in love with fiction.”

The book was translated by Robin Moger, who will unfortunately not be in London. Moger has also brought into English Otared by Mohammad Rabie and Women of Karantina by Nael Eltoukhy, and also posts fresh work at his blog, His translation for Writing Revolution won the 2013 English PEN Award for outstanding writing in translation, but he is distinctly under-celebrated.