Articles tagged "Syrian Literature"


The Liberated Voice: Three Writers from Syria

Clearly the most important duty for the outsider looking to read new Syrian literature at the moment is not to expect a consistent voice or search for a monolithic take on the current period of Syrian…...

A Bedtime Story for Eid

Translator’s note: Zaher Omareen’s tale takes us on a journey back to 1980s Hama, zooming in on some of the individual victims of the massacres and disappearances committed by the regime there,…...

I Am a Refugee

My apologies, Sir, That I come to you As a refugee. Accept me as a human being and not As a slave. Do not look down on me; Do not look me up and down. I am a poet; My testimonies plaster the walls, And…...

The Art of Expressing One’s Agony: An Interview with M. Raouf Bachir

Mohamed Raouf Bachir was a successful and celebrated writer of short stories in Syria in the sixties and seventies, becoming a member of the state-sponsored Arab Writers Union, on the Story and Novel Committee…...

Falling Down Politely, or How to Use Up All Six Bullets Instead of Playing Russian Roulette

But where’s the skill in loading a gun with just one round of ammunition and pointing it at your head, trying your luck at deliverance? The ingenious thing would be to fill all six chambers and let…...

Exile is Born at This Moment

Oh, my love, while you are in my breath, I am a statue of snow at the entrance to Damascus, with eyes closed, nose breathing anger, ears tuned to the noise of death, mouth speechless, trying to say: when…...

Bag of the Nation

I took the big bag that I had inherited from my grandfather down from the attic. It was brightly colored like a storm of rainbows. I hoisted it onto my back and went out into the street. I closed my eyes…...

Stories from “The Hedgehog”

My Invisible Friend My mother went to call on her neighbor Umm Baha’. She refused to take me with her, giving the excuse that women visit women and men visit men, and she left me at home alone, promising…...

Blackness

We who were killed in all wars. In the Basus war our corpses dangled from the Turks’ gallows In Troy’s war We were behind the walls Blood dried in our veins Those besieging us never went away…...

The Fountain

When the inscrutable embraces sluggish time spreading its invisible light between two suspended shores rags of screams, a flight of black cloth spread a hollow vertigo down the native alley Sanctuaries…...

The Masseuse and Her Adulterous Husband

The first time I saw her, I failed to notice her beauty. I met her at the spa. The receptionist led me to her but, in her presence, she kept her eyes lowered. With a sure and certain step, she walked ahead…...

Sprouts

As he did every morning, Bilal al-Dandashi headed to school. Arriving late, he entered trembling from fear of his teacher, whose rebuke would be crude and sarcastic. He discovered, however, that all the…...

Neighing

Stop, and weep Not sadness over the corpse of the remnants of a cursed god and so not a sadness over a bird burdened with open space Don't…...

Barada

Barada, oh father of all rivers Oh, horse that races the days Be, in our sad history, a prophet Who receives inspiration from his lord Millions acknowledge you as an Arab Prince . . . so pray as an imam…...

Cooing

Your cooing wears me out at night- so wear me out. Like wine in the odes, you go on cooing and leave me what moves horses to tears, what weighs birds down with more…...

Damascus, What Are You Doing to Me?

1 My voice rings out, this time, from Damascus It rings out from the house of my mother and father In Sham. The geography of my body changes. The cells of my blood become green. My alphabet is green. In…...

Ode of Sorrow

  The blue of depth is sadness and the depth of blue-sadness and a star quivering tears in this space- Language at the peak of clarity unfurls the night . . . Indeed,…...

Ahem

It wasn't his cough reaching me from the inner cells across the dark, narrow hall that struck my interest more than the slamming of a door or the resonating ring of a pot falling on the hard floor.…...

Darkness

The remarkable thing didn't happen within the half hour the audience spent waiting for the show to begin but, rather, in that short fleeting rupture of time during the show itself. Last Tuesday wasn't…...

The Lanterns of Seville

To Julienne Peters of Brussels, who was moved to tears by the beauty of the Alcazar in the Seville of the Arabs, I dedicate these lanterns. "Would you look down on a cousin of yours if he addressed you…...

Fatima

Fatima did not capture my attention simply because she was a beggar-child. Alas, I was rather accustomed, in spite of myself, to the sight of children begging, pestering passersby in alleyways and on streets,…...

An Alphabetical Formation

Alif You're not beginning . . . It's an eternity, you know . . . I mean, the ever-after, you know No matter, then. Raise your cavalry But do not leave behind the horizon, Or the sea . . . or the…...

The Other Body / The Other Home

So that I can speak of myself and to this time, and even further-so that I can converse with days gone by, I find nothing more fitting than the parable of migration. Maybe because migration is another…...