Thinking of Abdelwahab Meddeb…

… the great Tunisian poet, writer, essayist & translator who would have turned 75 today. A good friend for several decades, I learned much from him about the literature & culture of the Maghreb and the wider Arab world. (See my essay on Abdelwahab & his work in my Arabia (Not So) Deserta. And wondering why his book The Malady of Islam, which I co-translated & published back in … Read more Thinking of Abdelwahab Meddeb…

Paul Celan — “Psalm”

60 years ago today Paul Celan wrote the poem “Psalm,” in Paris most likely. Below my translation, the original & the commentary by Barbara Wiedemann & myself (from Memory Rose into Threshold Speech).   PSALM NoOne kneads us again of earth and clay, noOne conjures our dust. Noone. Praised be thou, NoOne. For your sake we want to flower. Toward you. A Nothing we were, we are, we will … Read more Paul Celan — “Psalm”

Happy Birthday Jerry!

Today Jerome Rothenberg, poet, translator, anthologist extraordinaire turns 89! Many, many Happy Returns, my friend! & here, as we come to the end of this year of desolation, a few quotes from your book The Mystery of False Attachments: Eager to break thru language & touch life I crack my head against a mirror * In the way words rhyme or fail to I found my truth * The … Read more Happy Birthday Jerry!

A Poem or something, a gift, a song, for Paul Celan at 100

Her hand giant shadow  — mit Bleistift on ceiling with night reading light pillowed between us — graphites an unseen page, on which I’ll write, standing up in the kitchen,                              the good, no the best thing about night is it is always a pre- dawn.                It goes way … Read more A Poem or something, a gift, a song, for Paul Celan at 100

CO2 & Covid-19

Press Release from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) 10/14/2020 Biggest CO2 drop: Real-time data show Covid-19’s massive impact on global emissions While the ongoing Corona pandemic continues to threaten millions of lives around the world, the first half of 2020 saw an unprecedented decline in CO2 emissions – larger than during the financial crisis of 2008, the oil crisis of the 1979, or even World War … Read more CO2 & Covid-19

Climate Change triggers Migration

Climate Change triggers migration – particularly in middle-income and agricultural countries   Weather-related displacements from 2008 to 2015 totaled 172.3 million people. More than 14 million people were displaced by weather in 2015, with a record of 38.3 million set in 2010, an El Nino year. The annual average was 21.5 million people displaced by weather-related events. Chart courtesy of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (iDMC) and the Norwegian … Read more Climate Change triggers Migration

4 Poems by Paul Celan, with Commentaries

As I am in the process of proofing my final Paul Celan volume of translations — Memory Rose into Threshold Speech: The Collected Earlier Poetry — to be published by FSG in early November, the month Celan turns 100, I thought I’d post a few of the earliest poems that speak to me this morning (which, I guess, allows me to simultaneously alleviate the tediousness of proofing & the … Read more 4 Poems by Paul Celan, with Commentaries

Mohammed Dib: Celebrating 100 Years

Via the always excellent ArabLit Today: The great Algerian author Mohammed Dib was born 100 years ago today: At least four French publications are celebrating the Dib centenary: There has been a reissue of Dib’s collection Formulaires, a co-edition of his book of photographs and memoirs of Tlemcen (Tlemcen or Places of Writing), a special section in the magazine Europe, and a special edition of Fassl that focuses on writing about Dib. Young Mohammed Dib. The novelist, … Read more Mohammed Dib: Celebrating 100 Years

On the 50th Anniversary of Nelly Sachs’ Passing

The great Jewish German-Swedish poet & playwright Nelly Sachs passed on this day, 12 May, 1970. Raised in Germany, the rise of nazism in the thirties terrified her so much that at one point she lost the ability to speak, as she would remember in verse: “When the great terror came/I fell dumb.” In 1940 she escaped with her mother on the last flight from Nazi Germany to Sweden, a week … Read more On the 50th Anniversary of Nelly Sachs’ Passing

172 Books: A Look at Moroccan Literature Available in English

Via the ever excellent ArabLit. By Nadia Ghanem Many readers and bookshops organize their book piles, shelves, and readings by country, loosely defined as the author’s country of origin, or else by where the story takes place. It’s an approach to fiction I always found odd and enjoyable; there is a special kind of enjoyment to be had by sticking to the fiction of a place and concentrating on … Read more 172 Books: A Look at Moroccan Literature Available in English