The Era of Arabic Poetry is Over. Long Live Arabic Poetry.

It is interesting that many highbrow-ish literary commentators have declared the era of Arabic poetry over, in favor of the era of the Arabic novel, while popular poetry remains seemingly just as...popular.

Samar Yazbek, ‘A Sudden Visitor in This Place’

Yesterday, Jadaliyya published a prose work by Yazbek that reflects events in Syria through the prism of a woman writer. The work, titled "Waiting for Death: I Will Not Carry Flowers to my Grave," is not assigned a genre, but feels in parts like a prose poem, elsewhere an essay or a memoir fragment.

If You’re in London: The ‘Dash Arabic’ Series

Yes, and this time I really mean "London," and not towns farther afield. Dash Arts recently launched something called the Dash Arabic Series, which is says includes "major commissions by artists from across the Arabic-speaking world and a wider programme of free events at the Dash Café." Upcoming events include a tribute to Um Kulthoum and a staging of … Continue reading If You’re in London: The ‘Dash Arabic’ Series

Guardian Reviews Beirut39 Collection, Says Hassan Blasim Perhaps ‘Best Writer of Arabic Fiction Alive’

The Guardian review of Beirut39: New Writing from the Arab World , penned by author Robin Yassin-Kassab, begins with the well-worn notion that the news media shrinks our minds, stuffing us with stereotypes about Arabs. Literature, on the other hand, expands our minds. Therefore, we must read literature about the Arab world. I find myself … Continue reading Guardian Reviews Beirut39 Collection, Says Hassan Blasim Perhaps ‘Best Writer of Arabic Fiction Alive’

Celebrate Short Story Month With Yusuf Idris, Ghassan Kanafani, Others

According to the Emerging Writers Network (as well as a few lit mags and media outlets),  May is not just the month of workers and flowers, but is also Short Story Month. To celebrate, you'll surely need to crack open a collection from the Arabic language's short-story genius, Yusuf Idris. Although I think many of … Continue reading Celebrate Short Story Month With Yusuf Idris, Ghassan Kanafani, Others

Colloquial vs. Classical: How Do You Write?

The most interesting things I've overheard from the Beirut39 festival (and it's hard to overhear what's going on in Beirut from Cairo---noisy here) have been about how young writers choose to reconcile the divide between classical (fos'ha) and colloquial (3meya) Arabic. A generation ago, many writers switched to writing dialogue in 3meya, leaving the rest … Continue reading Colloquial vs. Classical: How Do You Write?