Poetry Depot

October 26, 2011

Khaled Mattawa, contemporary Libya-born poet

Filed under: Arabic, Libya — razvan @ 6:14 pm

Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya where he had his primary education. In 1979 he emigrated to the United States. He lived in the South for many years, finishing high school in Louisiana and completing bachelors degrees in political science and economics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He went on to earn an MA in English and an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University where he taught creative writing and won an Academy of American Poets award. (from webdelsol) He translated into English from Arabic contemporary poets like Adonis, Saadi Youssef, Joumana Haddad or Iman Mirsal.
Last week, Khaled Mattawa read his latest piece, entitled “After 42 Years,” performed in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s death.

After 42 years

Five years old when the dictator took over in a coup —

curfew shut our city down

Bloodless coup, they said —

The many who thought this could be good. (more…)

February 28, 2011

Again About Poetry and Arab Revolution

Filed under: Egypt, Egyptian — Tags: , , , , , , , — razvan @ 7:16 pm

CNN presented this image where Egyptian popular poet Ahmad Fu'ad Nigm rallies attendants during a public meeting organized by the opposition movement 'Writers and Artists for Change' in a main plaza in Cairo, August 2005.

According to CNN, poetry is an important part for the revolution from Egypt too. A venerable contemporary poet being in the cener of public protests.
Monday night at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, writers Reza Aslan, Azar Nafisi and Nathan Englander will take part in a panel, “Literature and Revolution in the Middle East” – on how poetry and novels have been used to fight for revolution throughout the Middle East—from Israel to Iran to Egypt.

ONLY ON THE BLOG: Answering today’s five OFF-SET questions is one of those panelists, Dr. Aslan, a contributing editor at the Daily Beast, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam and How to Win a Cosmic War” and editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East.”

By now we’ve heard that protesters in various Middle East countries are using Twitter and Facebook to coordinate anti-regime activities. But are you saying that demonstrators, including the many young people who have been protesting, are being informed by literature—by poems and novels?

What I am saying is that their very identity is being formed by the literature that is so much a part of the cultural awareness of the peoples of the Middle East. They are using social media to communicate and organize, but using poetry to define who they are. (more…)

Poetry and Arab Revolution

Filed under: Africa, Arabic, Tunisia, Tunisian — Tags: , , , , — razvan @ 1:25 am

The Will of Life

by Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi

If the people will to live
Providence is destined to favourably respond
And night is destined to fold
And the chains are certain to be broken

And he who has not embraced the love of life
Will evaporate in its atmosphere and disappear

Translated by As’ad Abu Khalil.

فلا بــدّ أن يستجيب القــــدر             إذا الشعب يوماً أراد الحيـــــــاة
ولا بـــدّ للقيـــد أن ينكســــر                ولا بدّ للــــيل أن ينجلــــــــــي
تبـــخّر في جــوّهـا واندثــــر                 ومن لم يُعانــقه شوق الحيــاة

image and poem from HERE

John Lundberg wrote for huffingtonpost.com

The words of a Tunisian poet helped spark revolution in his native country, then spread to help fuel the revolution in Egypt, and continue to inspire protests flaring up throughout the Middle East. Abu Al-Qasim Al-Shabi’s poem “Will to Live,” written when Tunisia was struggling under French colonialism in the early 20th Century, captured the emotions of Tunisian protesters in their most recent struggle for democracy, and proved a powerful, unifying cry for freedom. “Will to Live” includes the following lines, which are memorized by school children throughout the Arab world (translated, of course): (more…)

December 15, 2010

Adonis: Contemporary Arab poet world acclaimed.

Filed under: Syria — Tags: , , , , — razvan @ 3:19 pm

Among the 17 best poetry books of the Fall 2010, Hunffington post lists a collection of Selected poems by Adonis translated in English for Yale University Press.

Adonis (Adunis)  is the contemporay Syrian poet that “grew international fame in the 1970s and 1980s as one of the Arab world’s leading poets, as well as one of its best-known intellectuals and critics. Finally, there is the Adonis of the 1990s and of the new century, grand old man of Arabic letters, university professor, author of some of the most controversial writings on Arabic culture of the last half century.”

(foto Time Out Dubai)

“what links these decades together, as well as the poetic and critical work they produced, is Adonis’s permanent commitment to an open future, which should take the legacy of the past forwards and outwards, resisting the temptation to be content with inherited attitudes. ”

According to Adonis, “Arab poetic modernity consists of a radical questioning that explores the poetic language and that opens up new experimental areas for writing. Writing here continually puts Arab civilisation in question, while at the same time putting itself in question.”

from Al Ahram Weekly


Desire Moving Through Maps of Matter
No, I have no country 
except for these clouds rising as mist from lakes of poetry. 
Shelter me, Dhawd, guard me, Dhawd! -- 
my language, my home-- 
I hang you like a charm around the throat of this era 
and explode my passions in your name 
not because you are a temple 
not because you are my father or mother 
but because I dream of laughter, and I weep through you 
so that I translate my insides 
and cling to you as I tremble as my sides shudder like windows 
shaken by a wind let loose from God's fingers.

from HP

And also a poem Adonis read in Arab followed by an English translation of his poem at Prague Writers Festival in 2009 (more…)

December 7, 2010

Contemporary poetry from Syria by Nadim Alwazzeh

Filed under: Arabic, Asian, Syrian — razvan @ 12:47 am

Nadim Alwazzeh is a Syrian poet and founder of the poet website and editor of Ugarit electronic magazine http://www.ugaritemagazine.com/. from here

The video beneath says it features poetry by rohit gupta, buttermere and nadim alwazzeh

رحلة لم تتمّ
نديم الوزه

A Journey which has not been completed

Nadim Alwazzeh

(Syrian poet)


أبي أتى من جبال اللاذقية, و لا أدري إذا ما كان طلب الرزق وحده يكفي للتخلّي عن طبيعة خضراء؟

My father has come from the mountains of Lattakia, and I don’t know whether asking for livelihood only is enough to forsake a green nature


أنا ولدت في دمشق كي أعيش فقيراً، شاعراً بتفاهة الفقر، و لا أعتقد أنني سأعيش مرتاحاً إلا بقدرة قادر!

I was born in Damascus to live poor, feeling the silliness of poverty, and I don’t think that I’ll live comfortable except by the power of a capable


تبقى الحياة في دمشق أفضل منها في بيروت، على الأقل تجاوزنا المرحلة التاريخية لملوك الطوائف. (more…)

October 29, 2008

A poem of a young poet from Egypt

Filed under: Arabic, Egyptian — Tags: , , , , — razvan @ 12:17 pm

I searched pretty much for  contemporary Arab poetry. Not always the result  has been pleasing. This time I found it at lest interesting.

At this website I found a lot of egyptian literature. I enjoyed this  poem of a young poet.


Rana al-Tonsi

A Rose for the Last Days


 Rana al-Tonsi


On one foot

like a humiliated beggar I limp

past all the swinging doors

and the flags that are taken down from their masts . . .

The sidewalk was never my friend

but it embraced me those times (more…)

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