Coming this Tuesday, February 13, Londoners can sign up to co-translate poetry from Syria, Egypt, and Iraq with Alice Guthrie:
Those who come can have any level of Arabic. Guthrie will work with the group as a “bridge” translator, and everyone involved can create versions of the poems, as well as a shared version.
The workshop will focus on three poets, one of which (Picnic with an Explosive Belt) was on Mansoura Ezz Eldin’s list of favorites of 2016:
Ameer Alhussein is a Syrian Kurdish poet who writes in both Kurdish and Arabic. As a Kurd growing up in Syria under a regime that banned his mother tongue, he learnt to write in Kurdish without any support and outside of any institution. He was part of a group of young poets who published Inferno, a Kurdish and Arabic poetry magazine that was censored in Syria.
Basma Abdel Aziz is an award-winning Egyptian writer, sculptor, psychiatrist and activist. A long-standing vocal critic of government oppression in Egypt, she writes a weekly political commentary column and is the author of several works of nonfiction. She was named one of Foreign Policy’s Leading Global Thinkers 2016. Her poetry has first translated into English in 2016 at a PTC workshop.
Kadhem Khanjar is a poet and performer from Iraq. Along with some friends, he set up a project called ‘the Culture Militia,’ a group which performs poetry in sites of destruction and death including blown-up cars, minefields, ambulances, ISIS cages, and mass graves. His collection Picnic with an Explosive Belt was published in Arabic by Dar al-Maktutat in the Netherlands.
The workshop will further be facilitated by poet Clare Pollard, editor of Modern Poetry in Translation.