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I’d like to see the poetry of the Palestinian Ghassan Zaqtan in English, especially his latest collection, “Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me.” He has been one of the leading Arab poets for the last decade or so, and has been hailed by Mahmoud Darwish as an important figure in Arab poetry. Zaqtan is also a recognized novelist, but perhaps that would come later, after we have come to appreciate more completely his first love, poetry. Also, the poetry of Syrian Muhammad Maghut and Egyptian Amal Donqul should be made more available in English (I don’t know of any book-length translations of their work); as well as the novels of Palestinian Ibrahim Nassrallah (especially “The Birds of Caution”).
Fady Joudah was awarded the 2008 Saif Bhobash-Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s The Butterfly’s Burden. His newest translation of Darwish’s poetry, If I Were Another, is just out from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
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