Nazik al-Mala’ika was an Iraqi poet and critic of great influence and renown through the mid-twentieth century:

Born in 1923 to poet parents, she was raised in a household full of music and classic poetical forms. She moved between rebelling against and cherishing classical forms, particularly re-working elegy, radicalizing grief.

In this episode, Bulaq co-hosts Ursula Lindsey and M Lynx Qualey are joined by scholar and translator Emily Drumsta to discuss her new bilingual collection of al-Mala’ika’s poetry, Revolt Against the Sun. The collection is coming out this month from Saqi Books in the UK and January 2021 in the US.

We read from:

“A Letter to Him,” from For Prayer and Revolution (1978)

“Cholera,” from Shrapnel and Ash (1949)

“The Moon Tree,” from The Moon Tree (1968)

“Revolt Against the Sun,” from Night Lover (1947)

A few poems by al-Mala’ika online:

“Night Lover,” tr. Drumsta

Revolt Against the Sun,” tr. Drumsta

From “A Song for Mankind,” tr. Drumsta

The Train Passed By,” tr. Drumsta 

“New Year,” t. Rebecca Carol Johnson, on WWB

“Love Song for Words,” tr. Johnson, on WWB

You can see more about the book at saqibooks.com/books/saqi/revolt-against-the-sun.

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