Issue 51 of Banipal magazine focuses on pioneering Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef, who was born in 1934 near Basra.
For those in London on June 24.
I am still reading and re-reading Nostalgia, My Enemy, poems by Saadi Youssef, trans. Sinan Antoon and Peter Money. Youssef, one of the world’s great living poets, differs significantly from his fellow Arab poet Adonis, who has built grander and grander towers of words, reaching sometimes brilliantly and sometimes up beyond sight, into the sky. Youssef’s poetry, … Continue reading Saadi Youssef’s Language, ‘The Language Used By All’
“First of all, I can’t write poetry in any other language. Impossible. I have to write in Arabic because each language has its own history and Arabic is my history. I consider Arabic to be the most beautiful language.”
“Saadi Youssef, in his introduction to the translation of Song of Myself, criticizes those who described Whitman as a “Sufi” poet, but he uses mystic language in his translation of Whitman’s masterpiece. It’s fascinating how a text was read and transformed into different forms and styles.”
According to multiple reports, Nasser died Wednesday. He was 64.
This week, the literary journal “Akhbar al-Adab” dedicated an issue to Nasser and his work, which features essays by Ghassan Zaqtan, Tarek al-Tayeb, Qassim Haddad, Hoda Barakat, and others.
Our third list of 10 for public libraries — thankfully poetry-heavy — comes from celebrated poet-translator Marilyn Hacker.
The list has a palpable absence of Mahmoud Darwish.
“Today is World Poetry Day — and the birthday of Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) — and thus ArabLit will take an exceptionally eclectic & arguably nonsense tour of the entire history of Arabic poetry in English translation, based on what’s available free online in at least a good (and preferably fantastic) translation.”
It was then that he realized the bartender
Was shaking him roughly:
Where are you off to in your dreams
You with your bill not yet even paid.
“What then could come out of bringing these different Iraqi and American experiences of the war, these different time-frames, into dialogue? And what would be lost?”