ArabLit and 7iber continue coverage of this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) longlist – in English and Arabic — with Inaam Kachachi and “Tashari,” a word in the Iraqi dialect for being scattered and fragmented, as though shot from a hunting rifle.
Max Marin interviewed Iraqi novelist Inaam Kachachi — whose novel “American Granddaughter” was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) in 2009 — about her IPAF-longlisted novel, “Tashari,” the reason she writes, and injecting adrenaline into literary writing.
“A poet dies twice: once when he publishes, and once when a statue is erected to him.” So said Iraqi poet Mahmoud al-Braikan, in a speech in memory of the great Badr Shakir al-Sayyab.
Last November, New Directions issued a new chapbook in their “Poets in the World” series: “15 Iraqi Poets.” The slim (60-page) volume was edited and introduced by Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail.
On March 11 of next year — at 9 a.m. in Iowa and 5 p.m. in Baghdad — six new works will be performed as part of “Book Wings Iraq,” a three-year-old program sponsored by the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP) that’s previously commissioned work from Russia, China, and the U.S.
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.