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Modern Arabic Poetry


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After centuries of oppressive Ottoman rule, the Arab world began to find new vitality and freedom in the twentieth century. The accompanying resurgence of creative expression is splendidly reflected in this definitive anthology of contemporary Arabic poetry, which spans the modern Arab world from the turn of the century to the present, from the Arab Gulf to Morocco. The editor, Salma Khadra Jayyusi, a renowned expert on modern Arabic literature, presents a through introduction to the works of more than ninety Arab poets. To create the best possible English translation, each selection has been translated first by a bilingual expert and then by an English-language poet, who creatively renders it into idiomatic English.

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments IntroductionPart I: Poets Before the FiftiesIlya Abu Madi The Human Clay The PhoenixUmar Abu Risha A Roman Temple An EagleIlyas Abu Shabaka You or I? This Is My Wine I Love YouAl-Akhtal al-Saghir The Wisdom of Life Hind and her MotherSa'id 'Acql Do Not Show Your Love More Beautiful Than Your Eyes Dark Beauty From: The Book of RosesBadawi al-Jabal Dark Mirage The Visit Immortality BeautyAl Tijani Yusuf Bashir Tormented Mystic Memories of the Village SchoolIlyas Farhat Quatrains My Burned Suit Salma WildernessGibran Kahlil Gibran Veiled Land Earth The Seven Stages Fame The PoetHafiz Ibrahim Describing a SuitMuhammad M. al-Jawahiri Come Down, Darkness Lullaby for the HungryMutran Khalil Mutran Boycott EveningAhmad al-Safi al-Najafi Where is the Guard? The Pleasures of Darkness The Ship of Life The MothIbrahim Naji Farewell OblivionAmin Nakhla To the Beloved Grown Past Youth Black SongMikha'il al-Rasafi Poem to al-Raihani The Abyss of DeathAbu al-Qasim al-Shabbi Life's Will Quatrains from "Song of Ecstacy"Ahman Shauqi Bois de Boulogne Thoughts on Schoolchildren An Andalusian Exile'Ali Mahmud Taha The Blind Musician Egyptian SerenadeIbrahim Tuqan The Martyr PerplexityJamil S. al-Zahawi Both StrangersPart II: Poets After the FiftiesHasan 'Abdallah I Remember Having LovedMuhammad 'Abd al-Hayy Ode of SignsSalah 'Abd al-Sabur Expectation: Night and Day The Gist of the Story The People of my Country Winter Song The Sun and the Woman'Abd al-Razzaq 'Abd al-Wahid Dreaded Road Reaching Forty You Rise Among Truths Shauqi Abi Shaqra Water for the Family House The Student FugueAdunis A Mirror to Khalida Beginning Speech A Song Mihyar, A King A Grave for New York'Ali Ja'far al-Allaq Poet Lady of ChaosMuhammad al-As'ad Gardens for the Fire and the Rain The Princess'Abd-Allah al-Baraduni From Exile to Exile A Rose From Al-Mutannabi's BloodSaleen Barakat Dilana and Diram The Wild Goat The Cows of Heaven The Greyhound The Hoopoe bird The Flamingo The Squirrel'Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayyati The Impossible Luzumiyya The Birth of Aisha and Her Death Elegy for AishaMohammad Bennis The Second Coming Belonging to a New FamilySargon Boulus Lighter Poem My Father's Dream SiegeMahmoud al-Buraikan Tale of the Assyrian State Man of the Stone CityAhmad Dahbur In Memory of 'Iziddin al-Qalaq The Death of the ShoemakerMahmoud Darwish Diary of a Palestinian Wound Bread Beirut Poems After BeirutZuhur Dixon Overture Dialogue of the Night of the Roses Season of Beginning and End Two Hands on the WaterAmal Dunqul The Scaffold Corner Tomorrow Trains The City A Wrecked ShipSalah Fa'iq PoemsMuhammad al-Faituri The Story Incident The Question and the Answer The Dervish The Closed Door A Scream The VisionMuhammad al-Ghuzzi Female Quatrains for Joy Your Eyes A Dream The Pen My Sister Taghore The Beggar

About the Author

Salma Khadra Jayyusi, widely known for her poetry, literary criticism, and scholarship, is the author of Trends and Movements in Modern Arabic Poetry, and numerous other articles and studies. She taught at several Arab and American universities before leaving to found and direct PROTA, Project of Translation from Arabic, dedicated to translating the best in Arabic literature, classic and modern, into English.


"If proof of the pudding is in the eating, Modern Arabic Poetry: An Anthology is brilliantly successful... It offers the finest available translations of a literature now ripe for rediscovery." -- Middle East International "The high quality of the translation gives the poems an English texture with no loss of their Arabic authenticity... a fine work and a major contribution, much needed and long awaited..." -- International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies "[Modern Arabic Poetry] establishes new standards of sensitivity, accuracy, and readability." -- World Literature Today

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