Palestinian Poet Asmaa Azaizeh Wins Tajwaal Grant

Al Mawred Al Thaqafy, or “Culture Resource,” last week announced the winners of the 2017 Second Round Tajwaal Program, to support international mobility. Seven grantees were selected from a pool of 41 applicants. Most of the grants went to support music, theatre, and film. But among the grantees was Palestinian poet Asmaa Azaizeh:

According to the news release, Azaizeh award will support her travel from Palestine to Barcelona, Spain,”to take part in a translation workshop in the framework of the Anthology of the Poetry Yard Project.”

The project brings together ten poets from the Arab world, Spain and Catalonia, selected by a committee of experts from the Arab world and Spain, and invites them to compose works on a specified theme. These are then translated by a team of professional translators in a workshop that is held in Barcelona.

ArabLit contributor Amira Abd El Khalek wrote of Azaizeh’s work that her “poems are potent yet delicate renderings of seemingly simple everyday things.”

Azaizeh won the Young Writer Award from Al Qattan Foundation in 2010 for her first volume of poetry, Liwa, published in 2011. Her sophomore collection, As The Woman From Lod Bore Me, was published in 2015, and elements were also staged. Her work has been translated into many languages, although she has no collection translated into English. Currently, she works as the manager of “Poetry Yard,” as a curator at Fattoush art space and bookshop in Haifa, and as a manager of the “Poetry Lab” initiative.

At an event in London, Azaizeh said of writing:

“Poetry to me is a place; a dark place, or a sub-place in my life. If I start thinking or acting as a poet, planning to be a poet or planning to write poetry, I will destroy my project. Poetry is a place where you fight poetry… I always feel that I’m breaking something, not building something. I’m breaking stereotypes, or language… I feel it is my enemy. That’s why I don’t write a lot. It’s in me – but it’s not in my head. It’s not something that I do a lot. I’m not searching for it and I’m not trying to bring it into my daily life. That is why I keep writing. If I’m satisfied about everything I write, I would stop writing.


Azaizeh – Poems from Banipal 45