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

Safaa Fathy: Souffler un autre esprit / Breathe another spirit

Egyptian/French poet, filmmaker & philosopher Safaa Fathy gives a reading/talk in the context of  “Philosopher en temps d’épidémie” with English subtitles.     also check out:  

Commentaries on 6 Paul Celan Poems

Re: Tenebrae, White and Light, Speech-Grille, Snowbed, Matière de Bretagne & Rubble Scow   These are reduced translated versions, with some additional materials, of Barbara Wiedemann’s superb KOMMENTAR in her Paul Celan: Neue kommentierte Gesamtausgabe. Die Gedichte (Suhrkamp 2018) All poems taken from Sprachgitter | Speechgrille: All poems in this 1959 volume were written between 3. 6. 1955 and 11. 3. 1958. Speechgrille is the smallest of Celan’s collections; the period in question — … Read more Commentaries on 6 Paul Celan Poems

Paul Celan: Fifty Years Later: Tenebrae & 5 More

It was exactly 50 years ago, on the night of 19 to 20 April 1970 that Paul Celan left his apartment on the avenue Emile Zola, and succumbed to his psychic demons: the Pont Mirabeau (an actual bridge over the Seine that is also a poem by Apollinaire) is where he decided to put an end to his life by going into the Seine. His body was found further downstream on … Read more Paul Celan: Fifty Years Later: Tenebrae & 5 More

Mahmood Darwish: Opening Pages of “Memory of Forgetfulness”

Getting up on the first morning after we started shelter-in-place here in New York, I went as always straight to the kitchen to start the ritual of making coffee — & immediately thought that the book I wanted/needed to reread at that/this moment was Mahmood Darwish’s Memory of Forgetfulness, which I have done on other occasions over the years since it was published by the University of California Press … Read more Mahmood Darwish: Opening Pages of “Memory of Forgetfulness”

Abdellatif Laâbi’s ” Perishable Poems”

A pleasure right now here in the turmoil of virus to sit down & read through the latest Abdellatif Laâbi collection of poems, excellently translated by Peter Thompson, & published by Dialogos in Nola. As the publisher’s website states, “English speakers can now join Africans and Africa scholars in recognizing Abdellatif Laâbi as Morocco’s preeminent living poet.” I would qualify this by saying “preeminent francophone poet” given the great … Read more Abdellatif Laâbi’s ” Perishable Poems”

Meanwhile, & despite the Virus, Global Warming Needs Action Too!

Press Release by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research 23/03/2020 Coal exit benefits outweigh its costs Coal combustion is not only the single most important source of CO2, accounting for more than a third of global emissions, but also a major contributor to detrimental effects on public health and biodiversity. Yet, globally phasing out coal remains one of the hardest political nuts to crack. New computer simulations by … Read more Meanwhile, & despite the Virus, Global Warming Needs Action Too!

Michel Deguy: “Coronation”

CORONATION “The coronavirus”… already a hemistich! The epigram can cadence !   Contamination comes down the Contamines Your confines my confines confine themselves But our confines overwhelm confinement Wewe contaminates itself I hear the economy shrink in the purse-exchanges   Ten million Chinese will have lost face    Masks and videos glare & face off    Fat Trump has tweeted “No virus in the States” Putin has put God … Read more Michel Deguy: “Coronation”