The poetry of Al-Khansa (~575-646) has been little-translated, although notably it appeared in the slender and beautiful chapbook of reflections Loss Sings, by author and translator James Montgomery, one of the executive editors of the Library of Arabic Literature project.
" In a world of where everyone from gormless mark to greedy king is ready to believe his dreams long before he believes his eyes, al-Jawbari keeps his beady gaze trained on the trickster’s hand, not his mouth."
"Something that I was aware of growing up in Syria, but more now that I’m in Lebanon, is that classical Arabic literature is associated with many things, but it’s not associated with being a space for creative and experimental thinking. So I think the main idea for both of us with this is experimental."
"It’s not quite the same as a purely autobiographical text, but it’s almost more interesting for that. They’re more like mini-essays. I do think that the work, for that reason, can be read by people who aren’t interested in seventeenth-century Morocco."
Current discussions include talks with Bilal Orfali on wise fools, Maurice Pomerantz on the magic of words, and Marcel Kurpershoek on Nabati and classical poetries.
This is the second Library of Arabic Literature title to make an NTA longlist.
"Firstly, these are fun texts that capture a sense of marvel, wonder, humor, and, above all, adventure. In a university setting, both of these texts get at a fundamental human problem that I enjoy highlighting: How does one write about and represent cultures and peoples other than one’s own? What pitfalls await even a sympathetic observer?"
Adonis is still working on poetry, but next---his memoirs.