Palestinian Poetry Showcase
Translators can be the closest readers, and the relationship between poets and their translators is often a close and crucial one. For today’s showcase, we’re delighted to be highlighting that relationship, with Arabic poets Ghayath Almadhoun and Mustafa Abu Sneineh reading alongside their translators, Catherine Cobham and Katharine Halls respectively.
Ghayath Almadhoun is a Swedish/Palestinian poet. Ghayath was born in a Syrian refugee camp, his family having fled Gaza, and lived in Syria before seeking refuge in Sweden. His 2017 collection Adrenalin, translated into English by Catherine Cobham, from St Andrews, has attracted international interest.
Ghayath will read together with Mustafa Abu Sneineh, a poet from Jerusalem and a bilingual journalist writing for British and Arabic media. Mustafa published his first poetry collection, A Black Cloud at the End of the Line, in Arabic in 2016, and his poems translated by Katharine Halls appeared in English in the Critical Muslim magazine, and A Blade of Grass.
A Blade of Grass (Smokestack Books, 2017) was edited by Naomi Foyle and showcases poetry from the Palestinian diaspora. It brings together, in English and in Arabic, new work by poets from the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, from the Palestinian diaspora and from within the disputed borders of Israel. Featuring work by Fady Joudah, Mahmoud Darwish, Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, Deema K. Shehabi, Ashraf Fayadh, Naomi Shihab Nye, Marwan Makhoul, Farid Bitar, Fatena Al Ghorra, Dareen Tatour, and Sara Saleh, it celebrates the flourishing cultural resistance of the Palestinian people to decades of displacement, occupation, exile and bombardment. Written in free verse and innovative forms, hip-hop rhythms and the Arabic lyric tradition, these poems bear witness both to catastrophe and to the powerful determination to survive it.