The Libyan poet and journalist Rabia Cherir, one of many anti-regime activists to have disappeared, has been missing since April 29. That’s the day the Berber journalist and poet, a known opponent of the Ghaddafi regime, was shown on television being tortured.
It is unfortunate that Egyptian novelist Idris Ali, who died last November, could not have lived to see uprisings in Egypt and Libya.
This weekend, Libyan-American poet Khaled Mattawa has been at New York’s Alwan for the Arts, reciting his own poems and those of other Arab poets. Among the poems he’s reciting, I imagine, is his new work, “Now That We Have Tasted Hope.”
I wouldn’t normally lift an author’s entire work, but, since its initial appearance on BBC’s The World Today, it seems to have been reposted on a number of websites. (Is that a good excuse?) Anyhow:
Tonight, my hopes are with Benghazi. I’ve been re-reading poems from award-winning Khaled Mattawa, who grew up in Benghazi.
Banipal 39 featured “Modern Tunisian Literature” and 40 will showcase “Libyan Fiction.” If there had been a 39 1/2 on young Egyptian authors, I’d have suspected that editor Samuel Shimon had a really good set of voodoo dolls over there at 1 Gough Square.
It’s surely too soon to hope that Moammar Ghaddafi may be headed off on a trip with his friend Mr. Ben Ali. Of course, if he did retire to the KSA, he could spend much more time on his short stories, which—according to a Guardian books blog review—need a bit more, er, coherence.
The book presumably draws on Matar’s personal history: In 1990, his father, Jaballa Matar, was kidnapped in Cairo and extradited to Tripoli as a political dissident. Since then, his family heard little about Jaballa Matar’s fate; Hisham described the torturous silence this in a piece for the Gaurdian last January. You can find out more at freematar.org.
Encouraged by translator/scholar/writer Elliott Colla—who had an interesting short essay about Ibrahim al-Koni in yesterday’s Ahram Online—I thought we’d make this an al-Koni week. Although not an “Arab” writer, al-Koni is one of the giants of contemporary Arabic literature, and has a unique and world-encompassing literary vision.
Yesterday in New York City, the group “United States Artists” announced their list of 50 fellows for 2010. Each fellow receives $50,000.
Among them was poet/translator/professor Khaled Mattawa.
Although the news was released last week, I saw it just this morning, (thanks to Franklin Lewis).
So: مبروك ya Khaled!
I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, but Ibrahim al-Koni’s masterwork The Animists (translated by Elliot Colla) was originally scheduled to be out from AUC Press in February of this year. Now, it’s had its English-language debut delayed until… Read More ›