On Mahmoud Darwish’s Birthday, 13 Poems

"It is not enough to love, for that is one of nature’s magical acts, like rainfall and thunder. It takes you out of yourself into the other’s orbit and then you have to fend for yourself. It is not enough to love, you have to know how to love. Do you know how?"

Selected Works: On the 5th Anniversary of Mahmoud Darwish’s Death

Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died on August 9, 2008: I particularly appreciate this 2002 interview Darwish gave to Raja Shehadeh: Raja Shehadeh: Do you build on the work of others? Mahmoud Darwish: Yes. Very much so. I feel that no poem starts from nothing. Humanity has produced such a huge poetic output, much of it of a very … Continue reading Selected Works: On the 5th Anniversary of Mahmoud Darwish’s Death

New French-Lebanese Literary Prize & Other Things You Missed While I Was Away

Lebanon's French book fair -- the 19th Salon du Livre Francophone de Beyrouth -- will be held from Oct. 26 through Nov. 4 of this year, separate (as is unfortunately been the case) from the capitol's Arabic book fair. However, according to the Iran Book News Agency (IBNA)*, this year will see a new literary … Continue reading New French-Lebanese Literary Prize & Other Things You Missed While I Was Away

One-minute Review: Mahmoud Darwish’s /Journal of an Ordinary Grief/

In Mahmoud Darwish’s Journal of an Ordinary Grief--published in 1973 as Yawmiyyat al-Huzn al-'Adi and now available in English translation--the narrator shapes his personal, Palestinian memories against the insistent push of Israeli and Western-dominated history. The book thus presents itself not as an official record, but as a collection of individual wounds.

Fady Joudah Wins 2010 PEN USA Literary Award

Palestinian-American poet Fady Joudah (who I thought should've made the Beirut39, but never mind) has won this year's 2010 PEN USA Literary Award for translation for his rendition of Mahmoud Darwish's If I Were Another. مبروك, ya Fady! Joudah was also a finalist for the 2008 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for his translation … Continue reading Fady Joudah Wins 2010 PEN USA Literary Award

When (Arab) Poets Write Prose

Baheyya begins her review of Mourid Bargouti's 2009 memoir I Was Born There, I Was Born Here by stating: "It’s a wonderful thing when poets write prose." This is certainly true of Bargouti. His first memoir, I Saw Ramallah, which was released in English in 2000 (translated by award-winning author Ahdaf Soueif), is not just … Continue reading When (Arab) Poets Write Prose