Summer Reading: New Arab Poetry Translations Online

via Arab Literature (in English): Writes mlynxqualey:  Not exactly “beach reading,” but you could peruse these on your phone as you listen to the waves. Portrait of al-Sayyab from Badr Shakir al-Sayyab In Jadaliyya’s summer “culture bouquet,” they feature the Iraqi poet’s “Whorehouse,” trans. Levi Thompson. (You can read the original here.) “Whorehouse”  Sargon Boulus Also from the “culture bouquet” (a great one this season), a poem by … Read more Summer Reading: New Arab Poetry Translations Online

Interview with Nawal El Saadawi

Below the opening paragraphs of an interview with Egyptian author Nawal El Saadawi; you can read the full interview in Qantara magazine, here: “They don’t want any really courageous people!” The spirited Egyptian author and feminist Nawal El Saadawi is not afraid of castigating the hypocrisy of the political system and the continued violations of women’s rights in her country. Arian Fariborz spoke to her in Cairo Ms Saadawi, … Read more Interview with Nawal El Saadawi

Syrian Intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh Speaks Out

The Boston Review has just published a major interview with activist & intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh by Danny Postel and Nader Hashemi, co-editors of The Syria Dilemma. Yassin al-Haj Saleh is often called the conscience of the Syrian revolution. Born in Raqqa in 1961, he was arrested in 1980, while a medical student in Aleppo, and imprisoned for his membership in a left-wing organization. He remained a political prisoner until 1996, spending the last of … Read more Syrian Intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh Speaks Out

Unsi al-Haj (1937-2014)

Unsi al-Hajj was one of the major avant-garde voices in the Lebanese, and more widely, the Middle East poetry renaissance. He was connected with the major avant-garde journal Shi’ir (Poetry) core to the poetry revival of the 50s & 60s, & is maybe best known for popularizing the prose poem. Adonis wrote in his The Music of the Blue Whale: “I did not write prose poems in the exact sense … Read more Unsi al-Haj (1937-2014)

Current Lebanese Literature Feature

The always interesting online Pakistani literary magazine The Missing Slate has just published it’s latest issue focusing on Literature from Lebanon, including work by Elias Khoury, Etel Adnan, Wadih Saadeh, Abbas Beydoun, Alexandra Chreiteh & others. You can check it our here. Below, the opening paras of the editors’…  …introduction to the Lebanese literary feature By Marcia Lynx Qualey amd Yasmina Jraissati Literary traditions from the area we now call Lebanon … Read more Current Lebanese Literature Feature

Etel Adnan Named ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’

Very happy to hear that Etel Adnan, a gerat writer & good friend, was thus honored by the French. Marcy Qualey just posted the info on her Arab Literature (in English) blog, which I am copying here: Lebanese writer and painter Etel Adnan has been named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, a distinction she shares with artists as varied as Terry Gilliam, Shakira, Tim Burton, … Read more Etel Adnan Named ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’

Warm Dusklands on a Very Cold New York Day

On the coldest day (so far!) of the year here in New York, why not warm up by reading Robin Yassin-Kassab‘s account of his trip through Morocco — which ends up on summer afternoon in Marrakesh where it is 47 degrees Celsius — or 116 degrees Fahrenheit! Of course, if you have my Poems for the Millennium vol. 4 (North African Literature) handy, you can read up & extend … Read more Warm Dusklands on a Very Cold New York Day

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad: On Monsterphilia and Assad

Fascinating article on Syria, even if I don’t agree with everything Ahmad writes; below the opening paras — you can read the full article in Guernica Magazine, here. October 24, 2013 The problems with the “anti-imperialist” position on Syria. Image from Flickr via david_axe By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad Earlier this month, the British street artist Banksy produced a video on Syria that attracted over five million viewers in three days. At a … Read more Muhammad Idrees Ahmad: On Monsterphilia and Assad

Avnery: Cry, Beloved Country

Uri Avnery August 24, 2013 Cry, Beloved Country I DIDN’T want to write this article, but I had to. I love Egypt. I love the Egyptian people. I have spent some of the happiest days of my life there. My heart bleeds when I think of Egypt. And these days I think about Egypt all the time. I cannot remain silent when I see what is happening there, an … Read more Avnery: Cry, Beloved Country