Darwish: Journal of an Ordinary Grief

Archipelago Books has just published a book of linked autobiographical essays — first published in Beirut in 1973 — by the great Palestinian poet Mahmood Darwish, titled Journal of an Ordinary Grief, excellently translated from Arabic by Ibrahim Muhawi. What Edward Said wrote about Darwish’s poetry — that it is “an epic effort to transform the lyrics of loss into the indefinitely postponed drama od return” — is just … Read more Darwish: Journal of an Ordinary Grief

Translation Matters

Started a post last month as the translation of a note on translation from Pierre Assouline’s blog La République des Lettres. Got side-tracked, but here it is, with another couple notes on recent matters of translation that have come to my attention: Auteur et traducteur fifty/fifty Philippe Claudel’s novel Le Rapport de Brodeck was given the annual Independent Foreign Fiction Prize awarded by the British daily paper to a … Read more Translation Matters

Rimbaud Hoax, Poetry & Food, Ur-Baseball Ksar

For today, Sunday, just three little mises au points: 1) Looks like the Rimbaud photos I posted a couple days ago are in fact the work of a crazy Rimbaldian forger who has already committed various literary hoaxes (a sort of French Kent Johnson, maybe…?). I was alerted to it by another Frenchman who seems to track the forger mercilessly through cyberspace, if not to Aden, and who posted … Read more Rimbaud Hoax, Poetry & Food, Ur-Baseball Ksar

The scramble for Timbuktu & the Oldest Library South of the Sahara

From this week’s edition of signandsight, the opening paragraphs of an essay/reportage by Charlotte Wiedemann. The full piece is here : Scenes from the race for influence over Africa’s ancient written culture. The evening light throws pink feathers across the sky. A herd of goats sends dust spiralling into the air and as it settles, a sand-coloured twilight descends on the sand-coloured city. In front of the mud construction … Read more The scramble for Timbuktu & the Oldest Library South of the Sahara

Private Library's Introduction to Arab Literature

Just came across this series of blog entries by L.D. Mitchell on his Private Library blog, and this sequence on Arabic Literature — start here with # 1 — is a fine introduction with many links (though mainly to wikipedia entries) for further reading. Some lovely images of books and ms. too. Worth checking out, even if the organization of the sequence is not easy to navigate.

George Fragopoulos On Mahmoud Darwish

One of the better essays on the work of Mahmoud Darwish in this country was recently published in The Quarterly Conversation on-line magazine. I am reproducing a section of the essay below; you can read the full essay here. Tracing Mahmoud Darwish’s Map Essay by George Fragopoulos — Published on December 7, 2009 • more articles by this author • more articles about this publisher • Read more about: … Read more George Fragopoulos On Mahmoud Darwish

I’ll be on the road from today to Saturday/Sunday, specifically at the Villanova University Mirror Images: Challenges for Arab & Islamic Studies conference (see full program here), & thus unlikely to post for a few days. Anyone in the Philly area is welcome to the reading I am moderating (& participating in as a reader). See info below: The conference program includes the following special events. April 1, Wednesday … Read more