"Perhaps, after this pandemic passes,/ I will keep the rituals I have acquired in its course / because I've learned to hold on- more than ever before -/ to time,/ to examine it meticulously/ and to find life, clenched and caught,/ in its fleeting moments."
To mark the day, we have a list of 21 poems by Arab women, translated to English, starting with the sixth century and ending with work published in 2020.
"Home," a new bilingual collection of contemporary Arabic poetry, is set for a September release, and it features work from nine poets, hailing from eight different countries, with an emphasis on "the minutiae of everyday life—the pain, the pleasure, the uncertainty, the ennui."
The off-London Book Fair podcast explores the Miyah poetry movement that was sparked in April 2016 when poet Hafiz Ahmed composed "Write Down I Am a Miyah," an echo of Mahmoud Darwish’s "ID Card," and shared it on social media.
Here they are the words fluttering in the mind/
There’s a land in the mind with a heavenly name the words carry.
"Do not fill postcards with memories/
Between my heart and the luxury of passion/
stretches a desert where ropes of fire/
blaze and smolder, where snakes/
coil and recoil, swallowing blossoms
with poison and flame."
They got nothing except / Seven sheepskins on hard floors / The Sultan’s black and white photograph on blank walls / A guerba of goat skin full of well water / Broken jugs, hay-stuffed rucksack pillows & clay plates
"Because I, too, know that no one dies of love, / I live my life like a normal woman."
"I told my wife, now that we have reached sixty together -- / with myself a bit ahead of her,/ we will be living from now on/ the most wonderful decade of our lives . . ."
At a majliss in Saudi Arabia, for example, some Saudis complained that an unwillingness to embrace the art form in the past meant that a “Saudi art form” had effectively been monopolized by the United Arab Emirates.
"The news of your death reached me / one sweltering afternoon / as I sat with friends on a peak of Albaicín."
"I do not write in the day what I write in the night / because I am like the owl, I have / a slow wing clap and eyes / open to the blight."