Excerpted from Your Name, Palestine, published this month by World Poetry Books. Poems by Olivia Elias, translated by Sarah Riggs and Jérémy Victor Robert, with drawings by Basil King.
A poet of the Palestinian diaspora, Olivia Elias writes in French. Born in Haifa in 1944, she lived until the age of sixteen in Lebanon, where her family took refuge in 1948, then in Montreal, before moving to France. Her work, translated into English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, has appeared in anthologies and numerous journals. In 2022, she published her first book in English translation, Chaos, Crossing (World Poetry), translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid.
Sarah Riggs is a poet, artivist, and co-founder of Tamaas. She is the translator, from French, with the help of Alisha Mascarenhas, Jérémy Robert, and Cole Swensen, of Etel Adnan’s TIME (Nightboat, 2019), which won the Griffin International Poetry Prize and Best Translated Book Award and was nominated for Lambda and PEN.
Jérémy Victor Robert is a translator between English and French who works and lives in his native Réunion Island.
Basil King is a painter and writer, and the author of several poetry collections; his two most recent books—In Delacroix’s Garden (Spuyten Duyvil), a collaboration with Yuko Otomo, and After Thought: Paintings and Poems (Granary Books)—combine his recent art and his poetry.