Friday Finds: Poems from Najwan Darwish’s ‘Exhausted on the Cross’

In the new Asymptote — their tenth-anniversary edition — they have published five poems from Exhausted on the Cross, a new collection of Najwan Darwish’s work translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid:

Exhausted on the Cross, set for a February 23 release, has a foreword by Raúl Zurita. In it, Zurita opens by quoting from the poem “My Defeated Banner,” of which he says that “in its devastating beauty, it represents one of the peak moments of his poetry as well as of the writing of our time.”

In the collection, the “characters that move through the seven sections that make up this book are exhausted, exhausted in an infinity of crosses that rise in an infinity of places. Expelled from their ancestral land, permanently besieged and persecuted, women who have lost everything — their houses, their neighborhoods, their children — make present to others, to me, to you, to the reader, that in this land of victims and perpetrators, displaced and disappeared, all the rest of us are survivors.”

The poems included are: “Because of a Woman,” “To Hell,” “The Land,” “In Shatila,” and “To Abdel Amir Jaras.”

Also in Asymptote’s tenth-anniversary issue, they also have an excerpt from Helmi Sharawy’s An Egyptian African Story, translated by Reem Abou-El-Fadl.