Lit & Found: New England Review’s Summer Issue Features New Writing from Lebanon

This summer’s international feature, “Polyglot and Multinational: Lebanese Writers in Beirut and Beyond,” guest edited by poet and translator Marilyn Hacker, gathers the work of 14 Lebanese writers and their translators.

They write: “Some are current residents of Lebanon, others were born there but have since left, and
some are Lebanese and Palestinian refugees living in, or who grew up in, Lebanon.”

The issue’s cover art is by Lebanese-American photographer Manal Abu-Shaheen.

There is work by Taghrid Abdelal (trans. Fady Joudah), Inaya Jaber (trans. Karen McNeil & Miled Faiza), Fouad Mohammed Fouad (trans. Norbert Hirschhorn), Hilal Chouman (trans. Suneela Mubayi), Zeina Hashem Beck, lisa luxx, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, Rima Rantisi, and Omar Sabbagh. A full list of contributors to the NER summer issue and Hacker’s introduction are available online, as is Rima Rantisi’s essay “”Waiting,” Tarek Abi Samra’s short story “Kant’s Thief,” tr. Lina Mounzer, and Taghrid Abdelal‘s poem “Salt Pieces,” translated by Fady Joudah.

The poem opens:

Everything will melt 

at the bottom of childhood: 

the road is the salt.

And “Kant’s Thief“:

I entered the bookshop already terrified and sweaty-palmed, determined to steal Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. I would have liked for the whole thing to be over in the blink of an eye. To be able to run as fast as I could to the section where I’d seen the book before, snatch it off the shelf, and then retrace my steps quickly, out of the bookshop and finally to safety. Or, conversely, I would have liked to be able to go back on my decision: to leave the place without the book, or to simply purchase it, since I had more than enough money for it in my wallet. But I’d resolved to prove to myself that I wasn’t a coward. 

Find more about the issue at the New England Review website.