In Focus: Poet Olivia Elias’s ‘Your Name, Palestine’

To mark the launch of Olivia Elias’s Your Name, Palestine last month, we share a conversation between the poet and her translators, Sarah Riggs and Jérémy Victor Robert; an excerpt from Your Name, Palestineand a playlist of the poet and translators reading from the collection, as well as a musical translation.

A conversation between poet Olivia Elias and translators Sarah Riggs and Jérémy Victor Robert, talking about her collection Your Name, Palestine

An excerpt of “Your Name, Palestine” by Olivia Elias, translated by Sarah Riggs and Jérémy Victor Robert, with a drawing by Basil King.

A playlist on YouTube of Olivia Elias and her translators reading from “The Future is a Dream,” as well as a musical interpretation.

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.