Our third list of 10 for public libraries — thankfully poetry-heavy — comes from celebrated poet-translator Marilyn Hacker.
“Syrian poets opened crossings and paved paths, molded styles and discovered untouched poetic terrains in Arab poetics. Had we omitted three of them: Adonis, Muhammad al-Maghut and Nizar Qabbani, Arabic poetry would have probably looked very different today.”
“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.”
“In their pictures they draw you drowning.
They put you in their museums and applaud.”
“At that outcast and lonely hour,
that hour of night when choices narrow”
“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?”
“The importance of having children, teens, and young adults engage with literature in translation — literature from other traditions, that builds on different discussions — is an essay for another day. But it is even more essential with Arabic literature[.]”
Being a refugee means standing at the end of the queue
to get a fraction of a country.
“Whatever else, the language” — and how it binds up the ways we see or don’t see those people we call “refugees” — “needs to change.”
“The issue also includes work by five Assyrian Iraqi poets, the great Algerian poet-translator-scholar Habib Tengour, and Algerian poet and novelist Mohammed Dib.”
One of the most discomfiting images in the “Night and the Desert Know Me” installation at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in Washington, D.C., is Michael Platt’s “Just Outside My Window #1.”
You might have read Hadil Ghoneim’s recent essay on a group of US high school students reading Mahfouz. The piece ran ahead of an Ann Arbor teachers meeting, for which Ghoneim and ArabLit assembled this list — with some help from translator Trevor LeGassick, teacher Sarah Andrew-Vaughn, and others.