Beau Beausoleil, a poet who has tirelessly organized the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project since shortly after the 2007 bombing of Baghdad’s central book-selling street, continues to hold onto the lit candle, and is asking poets and readers to organize events for… Read More ›
Iraqi novelist and short-story writer Mahmoud Saeed (Saddam City, Through the Eyes of Angels) has seen two of his short stories — both translated from Arabic into English by William Hutchins — nominated for the Pushcart prize. The first was “Lizards’ Colony,” which ran on World Literature Today, and the second was “Love and the Demonstration,” which ran on Brooklyn Rail. Saeed answered a few questions about his relationship with the form.
Young Iraqi poet Saif Alsaegh was born and raised in the Risafa neighborhood of Baghdad. He was born during the first Gulf War, in 1991, and studied one year at the University of Baghdad — majoring in journalism and working for the Ikhbariya News Agency — before he went to Damascus to study English in order to qualify for a scholarship at a US university. That’s where he is now, at the University of Great Falls in Great Falls, MT, with plans to publish his first collection of poetry, Iraqi Headaches, in December.
There can be no series on Iraqi poetry without an engagement with Sargon Boulos. It’s coming. In the meantime, poet-novelist-translator Sinan Antoon has published two newly translated Boulus poems in Jadaliyya.
Yesterday, I received my long-awaited copy of Baghdad: The City in Verse, trans. and ed. Reuven Snir. The small volume attempts to capture and reflect the history of one of the world’s great cities through its poetry, with offerings beginning in the 700s and ending in 2012.
It’s Thursday, and thus time for a wrestling-with Iraqi poetry. This week, Sinan Antoon writes on Al Jazeera about how “Baghdad’s appearance has changed dramatically over 10 years – but its love of poetry and writing has not.”
Badr Shakir al-Sayyab is one of the most important names in modern Iraqi poetry — and indeed modern Arabic poetry. The poet, who died in 1964 at just 38, shook the poetic world with his verse. Translator, scholar, and author Dr. Issa Boullata, whose PhD dissertation became a book on al-Sayyab, answered a few questions about the poet’s life and work.
Today at 7pm, City Lore’s Director of Poetry Programs Catherine Fletcher moderates a panel dedicated to the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here project. Poet and scholar Ammiel Alcalay, Iraqi-American poet Alise Alousi, poet and project founder Beau Beausoleil, and ArabLit’s M. Lynx Qualey “gather to reflect on this landmark project and the important role of poetics in Middle Eastern culture.”
This week, ArabLit talked to Iraqi poet and publisher Faiza Sultan about her magazine and newly launched publishing house, Dar Safi, which is based in the US’s Pacific Northwest. Dar Safi promises to focus on literatures in English, Arabic, and Kurdish.
Officials announced yesterday that Iraqi novelist Abbas Khider had won the biennial literary prize of the city Dortmund, the €15,000 Nelly-Sachs-Preis.
Late last month, Iraqi director Mokhallad Rasem became the first from the Middle East to win the ‘Young Directors Project,’ an annual competition as part of the Salzburg Festival in Austria.
Although Iraqi writer Fadhil al-Azzawi is more widely known in English as a novelist (his The Last of the Angels, Cell Block Five, and The Traveler and the Innkeeper have been met with acclaim), al-Azzawi is perhaps better-known in Arabic as a poet. Both are true, as al-Azzawi’s work has moved between poetry and prose. He answered a few questions about his writing for our ongoing series on Iraqi poets and poetries.