LEILA ABDELRAZAQ (b. 1992, Chicago) is a Detroit-based Palestinian author and artist. Her debut graphic novel, Baddawi ( Just World Books, 2015), was shortlisted for the 2015 Palestine Book Awards and has been translated into three languages. She is the creator of a number of zines and short comics and has published, exhibited work, and given workshops around the world. Her work has been published in The Believer, The Funambulist, Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, Mizna, Muftah, and others.
FOWZIYAH ABU KHALID is one of Saudi Arabia’s leading modern poets and is considered the first prose poet in Saudi Arabia. Her first collection, Ilā matā yakhtaṭifūnaki laylat al-‘urs (Until when will they abduct you on your wedding night?), was published in 1974, followed by a number of highly experimental poetry collections. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, and German, and she has won many prestigious awards.
EMAD ABU SALEH (b. 1967) is an Egyptian poet. His first poetry collection, Umūr muntahiya as̩lan (Matters already decided), was published in 1995. His poetic career has thus far been unusual, idiosyncratic, and punctuated by periods of self-imposed silence. His self-published works are only privately circulated, even after he has established himself as one of the prominent prose poets of his generation. The poem in this issue is selected from his acclaimed collection Kāna nā’iman ḥīna qāmat al-thawra (He was asleep when the revolution came), 2015, which has been translated into Spanish and Catalan.
KAREEM JAMES ABU-ZEID, PhD, is an award-winning translator of poets and novelists from across the Arab world. Abu-Zeid translates from Arabic, French, and German. His most recent translation is the Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish’s Exhausted on the Cross (New York Review of Books, 2021). He also works as a freelance editor and writer. The online hub for his work is www.kareemjamesabuzeid.com.
SAMAD ALAVI (b. 1979) is a senior lecturer in Persian at the University of Oslo. His translations of Persian poetry have appeared in the anthology Global Modernists on Modernism, the online journal Shahadat, and the website of B|ta’arof magazine. “Summer of 1988” is his first translation of fiction.
RASHA ALDUWAISAN is an oral historian from Kuwait. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Common, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Cordite Poetry Review. She holds an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University.
AKRAM ALKATREB is a Syrian poet residing in New Jersey. He attended the University of Damascus, graduating with a degree in law. Alkatreb has worked as a literary critic and journalist for over two decades, with numerous contributions appearing in many major Arabic literary magazines and newspapers. He has published six poetry collections in Arabic and one in Spanish. He has participated in many poetry festivals in the United States and around the world.
AHMAD ALMALLAH is a poet from Palestine. His first book of poems, Bitter English, is now available in the Phoenix Poets series from the University of Chicago Press. Some of his poems and other writing appeared in Jacket2, Apiary, SAND, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Great River Review, and Kenyon Review and are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review and Poetry. He is currently an artist in residence in creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania.
AHMAD AL-AMIN is a Lebanese poet born in 1988. An engineer by profession, al-Amin publishes poetry and prose in Arabic newspapers and periodicals. The poems selected here are from his first collection, al-Mir’āt jidārun ākhar (The mirror is another wall), published by Dar al-Nahda al-Arabiya, part of the Aswat (Voices) series. Launched in February 2021, al-Amin’s installment constitutes an emerging generation of voices freshly arriving at the cultural scene of contemporary Arabic poetry.
TAREK EL-ARISS is the James Wright Professor at Dartmouth College and Guggenheim Fellow 2021–22. He is the author of Trials of Arab Modernity: Literary Affects and the New Political (Fordham University Press, 2013) and Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals: Arab Culture in the Digital Age (Princeton University Press, 2019) and editor of The Arab Renaissance: A Bilingual Anthology of the Nahda (Modern Library Association, 2018).
HODA BARAKAT (b. 1952) is a Lebanese author residing in Paris. Her novels include The Stone of Laughter (Interlink Books, 1995), Disciples of Passion (Syracuse University Press, 2005), and Voices of the Lost (Yale University Press, 2021). Barakat’s work has earned her honors and awards including the Ordre national du Mérite from the French presidency (2008), the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature (2000), and the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (2019). She is currently at the Montgomery Fellows Program at Dartmouth College (2019–).
ALMOG BEHAR (b. 1978) is a poet, novelist, translator, and critic. He now lives in Jerusalem. He has published six books: Zim’on Be’erot (Well’s thirst, 2008; poems), Ana Min Al-Yahoud (I am one of the Jews, 2009; stories), Chut Moshekh Min Ha-Lashon (A thread drawn from the tongue, 2009; poems), Chahla ve-Hezkel (Rachel and Ezekiel, 2010; a novel, translated into Arabic and published in Cairo in 2016), Shirim Le-Asirei Batei-HaSohar (Poems for the prisoners, 2016), and Kdey She-Hamelach Yitpazer al Ha-Ahava (Rub salt into love, 2021; poems).
DANIEL BEHAR is Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focuses on modern poetry in Syria. His English translations of Syrian poetry have appeared in ArabLit Quarterly and Exchanges.
ALEXANDRA BERGER-POLSKY is a women’s health nurse. Her work has been published in Denver Quarterly, The Forward, Poetry International, and Liberation: New Works on Freedom from Internationally Renowned Poets (2015). Originally from upstate New York, she currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband and two sons.
NAJWA BIN SHATWAN (b. 1970) is a Libyan academic and novelist. She has a Masters in Educational Sciences, was a lecturer at the University of Benghazi, and completed a PhD in Human Sciences at La Sapienza University in Rome. She has published six collections of short stories and three novels: Waber Al Ahssina (The horses’ hair, 2005), Madmum Burtuqali (Orange content, 2008), and Zareeb Al-Abeed (Slave Yards, 2015), which was shortlisted for the 2017 International Prize for Arabic Fiction and translated by Nancy Roberts for Syracuse University Press in 2020
JAMES BYRNE is a poet, editor, and translator. His most recent poetry collections are Places You Leave (Arc, 2022) and The Caprices (Arc, 2019). He co-translated and co-edited I Am a Rohingya: Poems from the Camps and Beyond (Arc, 2019) and Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets (Arc, 2012). Byrne is a Reader in Contemporary Literature at Edge Hill University, United Kingdom. His translation work with Ashur Etwebi began during a residency for Artica Svalbard, near the North Pole, in the summer of 2017..
AMIR HASSAN CHEHELTAN (b. 1965) is an Iranian novelist and critic who has published over twenty books in Persian. His works have been translated into English, German, French, Italian, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Hebrew, and Arabic. The German translation of his novel Mahfel-e Asheqan-e Adabiyat, Der Zirkel der Literaturliebhaber (The circle of literature lovers), won the 2020 International Literature Prize awarded by the Stiftung Elementarteilchen and the House of World Cultures in Berlin.
ELLIOTT COLLA teaches Arabic literature at Georgetown University and is author of Baghdad Central (Bitter Lemon Press, 2014), which was adapted for television by Channel 4/Hulu.
NAJWAN DARWISH (b. 1978) is one of the foremost contemporary Arab poets. Since the publication of his first collection in 2000, his poetry has been hailed across the Arab world and beyond as a singular expression of the Palestinian struggle. He has published eight books in Arabic, and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. The NYRB Poets series published Darwish’s Nothing More to Lose in 2014 and his Exhausted on the Cross in 2021.
LUQMAN DERKY (b. 1966) is a Kurdish-Syrian poet, actor, blogger, and cultural organizer from the town of Derbassiya on the Turkish-Syrian border. He now lives in France. He was a member of the Aleppo University Literary Forum in the 1980s. He has published six collections of poetry and one of short stories. He worked in theater and television and co-founded the satirical newspaper al-Dumery.
TARIK DOBBS (Arabic: طارق دبس , IPA: /tɐʼɾɪʜk ˈdɑbz/) is a writer and artist born in Dearborn, Michigan. Dobbs’s poems appear in the Best New Poets and Best of the Net anthologies as well as AGNI, The American Poetry Review, and Poetry. Dobbs is assistant editor of Great River Review at the University of Minnesota and currently serves as a guest editor of Mizna.
JONAS ELBOUSTY holds an MPhil and PhD in English Studies from Columbia University. He is a writer, a literary translator, and an academic. He is the (co)author of three books, and his work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in ArabLit, ArabLit Quarterly, Asheville Poetry Review, Banipal, Prospectus, The Journal of North African Studies, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and other venues. His translation of Mohamed Choukri’s two short story collections, Flower Crazy and The Tent, is forthcoming from Yale University Press.
OLIVIA ELIAS, born in Haifa in 1944, is a poet of the Palestinian diaspora who writes in French. In 1948, her family was exiled to Lebanon, where she lived until she was sixteen years old. She currently splits her time between Paris and Arles, France. She published her first collection of poetry in 2015. Her third and most recent collection, Chaos, Traversée (Chaos, Crossing), is forthcoming in English translation from World Poetry Books in 2022.
K. ELTINAÉ is a Sudanese poet of Nubian/Mediterranean descent. His work has appeared in World Literature Today, The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human: Tales from Many Muslim Worlds (Penguin), and African American Review, among other publications. His debut collection won the 2019 International Beverly Prize for Literature. He is the recipient of the Visionary Arts Memorial Reza Abdoh Poetry Prize 2021. He also co-won the 2019 Dignity Not Detention Prize (Poetry International). He resides in Granada, Spain (@k.eltinae).
ASHUR ETWEBI (b. 1952) is one of Libya’s leading poets as well as an editor, translator, and painter. Ashur has published nine volumes of poetry and seven volumes of translations, including a selection of Divan Shams Tabriz by Rumi. His works include Poems from above the Hill, translated by Brenda Hillman and Diallah Haidar (Parlor Press, 2011), and Five Scenes from a Failed Revolution (Arc, 2022). Before he left Libya, Ashur organized (with Khaled Mattawa) the first Tripoli International Poetry Festival in 2012.
FOUAD M. FOUAD is a physician and poet from Aleppo. Following the outbreak of war in Syria, he and his family moved to Lebanon, where he is now at the American University of Beirut. Dr. Fouad is deeply engaged in research and action on behalf of Syrian refugees. He has published five volumes of poetry in Arabic, most recently Once Upon a Time in Aleppo (Hippocrates Press, 2020).
YAHYA FREDERICKSON’s poetry collections include In a Homeland Not Far: New & Selected Poems (Press 53, 2017), The Gold Shop of Ba-‘Ali (Lost Horse Press, 2014), and four chapbooks, most recently The Birds of al-Merjeh Square: Poems from Syria (Finishing Line Press, 2014). A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Yemen and Fulbright Scholar in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Kyrgyzstan, he is a professor of English at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
MAJDA GAMA is a Saudi American poet based in the Washington, DC, area. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Cordite, Fairy Tale Review, GMR Online, Nimrod, The Normal School, and RHINO. Poetry is forthcoming from We Call to the Eye & the Night, an anthology of Arab love poetry. Majda is a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets nominee; her debut manuscript was a 2020 New Issues Poetry Prize finalist.
MONEERA AL-GHADEER was a visiting professor in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University and Shawwaf Visiting Professor at Harvard University. She was a tenured professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She has published Desert Voices: Bedouin Women’s Poetry in Saudi Arabia (I.B. Tauris, 2009) and is working on Translating the World: 100 Contemporary Poems from Saudi Arabia.
PAUL HANNA is a junior at Columbia University, where he studies film and political science. He is a filmmaker and a poet.
YASMEEN HANOOSH is a fiction writer, literary translator, and professor of Arabic literature at Portland State University. Yasmeen is the author of the short story collections Ardh al-Khayrat al-Mal’unah (The land of cursed riches) and Atfal al-Jannah al-Mankubah (Children of afflicted paradise). Her English translations of Arabic fiction have appeared in publications including World Literature Today, Banipal, ArabLit Quarterly, and The Iowa Review. Yasmeen’s translations have been awarded an NEA translation fellowship and the Arkansas Arabic Translation Award.
NORBERT HIRSCHHORN is a public health physician, proud to follow in the tradition of physician-poets. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hirschhorn has published six collections, the most recent being the bilingual Arabic-English co-translation with Syrian physician-poet Fouad M. Fouad, Once Upon a Time in Aleppo (Hippocrates Press, 2020). See his website, http://bertzpoet.com.
SIHAM JABBAR is one of Iraq’s promising poets. Her works embrace universal themes of asserting life forces and breaking away from clichéd existence. Technically solid, her poems celebrate feminist tropes and sentiments. As a university professor in Iraq, she nearly lost her life due to the turbulent years after 2003. Jabbar now lives in Sweden.
MENA KAMEL is an Egyptian writer from the Mojave Desert. His work explores queer identity, sex, mainstream language, violence, and the notion of home. He’s the founding editor of Coptic Queer Stories, an online zine covering gender, sexuality, race, and religion among Coptic LGBTQ+ individuals in diaspora and in Egypt. His work has recently appeared in Mizna, Urgency Reader, Za’faraan Magazine, and A Night at the Opera with Hosni Mubarak Hosted by Dave Eggers.
ARTHUR KAYZAKIAN’s chapbook, My Burning City, was a finalist for the Locked Horn Press Chapbook Prize, Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize, the C.D. Wright Prize, and the Black River Chapbook Competition. He is a contributing editor at Poetry International and a recipient of the Minas Savvas Fellowship. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in several publications, including Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, COUNTERCLOCK, Chicago Review, Locked Horn Press, Witness magazine, and Prairie Schooner.
SHENE MOHAMMED is an MFA candidate in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa, translating from and into Kurdish. She has worked as a translator and assistant director at Kashkul (www.kashkul.com). She works as an editor for Exchanges: Journal of Literary Translation. Her writing has appeared in World Literature Today, M-Dash, Modern Poetry in Translation, Balinde, and Chirok.
SHAKIR MUSTAFA is a teaching professor at Northeastern University. His most recent book is Contemporary Iraqi Fiction: An Anthology (Syracuse University Press, 2008). His other book publications are in the areas of literary translation, Irish drama, and Jewish American fiction. He has contributed dozens of essays, lectures, and television interviews (NPR, NECN, Fox News, BBC, among others) on Arab and Muslim issues. Mustafa was awarded research funding from Northeastern University in 2014 and Boston University in 2007.
DIMI REIDER is an Israeli journalist and translator. His work has appeared in The New York Times, London Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, Haaretz, and Foreign Policy, among other venues. He lives in London.
MOHAMMAD RABIE (b. 1978) is one of Egypt’s leading young writers. He has published four novels: Kawkab ‘anbar (Amber planet, 2010), ‘Ām al-tanīn (Year of the dragon, 2012), ‘Uṭārid (Otared, 2014), and Tārīkh ālihat miṣr (A history of Egypt’s gods, 2019). His first novel won first place in the emerging writers’ category of Egypt’s top literary award, the Sawiris Prize for Literature, and his third was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (the “Arabic Booker”). He is currently working on a new novel titled You Are Here.
YOUSSEF RAKHA is the author of The Crocodiles (Seven Stories Press) and The Book of the Sultan’s Seal (Interlink). He writes in both Arabic and English. His original English work has appeared in, among many other publications, Aoen, The Atlantic, Guernica, Kenyon Review, and The White Review.
NICHOLAS SAMARAS is the author of Hands of the Saddlemaker (Yale University Press, 1992) and American Psalm, World Psalm (Ashland Poetry Press, 2014). He is currently completing a new manuscript on his childhood years in exile.
BASHDAR SAMI (b. 1984) is a Kurdish photographer and the author of three collections of poetry: Tomorrow Is Another Day (2012), Walking in the Direction of the Respected Dead (2013), and Today Is Saturday if Nothing Goes Wrong (2020). His new poems have appeared in Balinde. He lives in Hewler, the Kurdish Region of Iraq.
SARAH SASSOON is a writer of Jewish-Iraqi descent. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Agora Magazine, Lilith, The Roadrunner Review, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Andrea Moriah Poetry Prize and a runner-up for the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award. Her first children’s picture book, Shoham’s Bangle, is forthcoming in 2022. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband, four boys, and dog. Visit her at www.sarahsassoon.com.
YUSUF AL-SAYIGH (1933–2005) was born into a Christian family in Mosul, Northern Iraq. He was imprisoned in the 1960s for several years on suspicion of political activities. He published seven volumes of poetry, two novels, and three plays. His works have been critically acclaimed for their bold modernity and experimental techniques.
SEIF-ELDEINE is a Syrian-American poet with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Tufts University and a MFA from Lesley University. He has received a fellowship from the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow and was a finalist for the Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship. He has been published in The Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, and Qu, among others.
A professor of comparative literature and Middle East studies at the University of Michigan since 1997, ANTON SHAMMAS is a Palestinian writer and translator of Arabic, Hebrew, and English. He is the author of three books of poetry (in Hebrew and Arabic); essays in English, Hebrew, and Arabic; and a novel, Arabesques, originally published in Hebrew (1986) and translated into nine languages. It was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best novels of 1988.
FATEMEH SHAMS is the author of two books of poetry in Persian, the first of which won the Jaleh Esfahani prize for the best young Iranian poet in 2012, and a critical monograph in English on poetry and politics, A Revolution in Rhyme (Oxford University Press, 2021). When They Broke Down the Door (Mage), a collection of her poems translated by Dick Davis, won the 2016 Latifeh Yarshater Award. She is currently an assistant professor of modern Persian literature at the University of Pennsylvania.
MIRAL AL-TAHAWY is an award-winning Egyptian novelist and short story writer. She is Associate Professor of Modern Arabic Literature, Classics, and Middle Eastern Studies at Arizona State University. Her creative work includes Al-Khibaa (The Tent, 1996), Al-Bazingana Al-Zarka’a (Blue Aubergine, 2000), and Nakarat El-Zeba’a (Gazelle Tracks, 2010). Miral’s fourth novel, Brooklyn Heights (2010), was awarded the 2010 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, chosen as the Best Translated Arabic book, and shortlisted for the “Arabic Booker” Prize.
LEVI THOMPSON is Assistant Professor of Persian and Arabic Literature at the University of Texas at Austin, where his research focuses on modernist literary developments outside of Europe. Levi’s first book, Re-orienting Modernism in Arabic and Persian Poetry, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. He has published translations of poetry from Arabic and Persian with UT Austin’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies publications program and in Inventory, Transference, Jadaliyya, and ArabLit Quarterly.
JACINDA TOWNSEND is the author of Mother Country (Graywolf, 2022) and Saint Monkey (Norton, 2014), which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best fiction written by a woman and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction. Jacinda is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the University of Michigan.
RAWAD WEHBE is a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania where he studies Arabic literature. His research on the mukhadramun explores how philology and affect can be used to read Arabic poetry composed between intergenerational thresholds to challenge dominant models of literary periodization in order to reimagine contemporary relationships to the Arabic poetic tradition. His translations have appeared in Inventory, Words without Borders, DoubleSpeak, and Home: New Arabic Poems by Two Lines Press.
SAADI YOUSSEF (1930–2021) was born near Basra, Iraq. A former political prisoner in Iraq, he spent most of his life in exile working as a journalist and activist. He is the author of over thirty books of poetry, several works of fiction and nonfiction, and numerous translations of English literature into Arabic.
HELEN ZEIN EDDINE is a Lebanese immigrant working in refugee support services in Richmond, Virginia. “Prepartum from Raising My Parents in America” is her first literary publication.
MONA M. ZAKI is a senior lecturer of Arabic at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She earned her PhD from Princeton University in medieval Islamic history. Her translations and book reviews have appeared in Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature, where she is a contributing editor. Her translation of the Libyan writer Mansour Bushnaf ’s novel Chewing Gum (Darf Publishers) was shortlisted for the Banipal Prize in 2016. She lives with her cat in Williamsburg, Virginia.
GHASSAN ZEINEDDINE is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Witness, Pleiades, TriQuarterly, Fiction International, The Common, Epiphany, and the Iron Horse Literary Review, among other places. He is co-editor of the creative nonfiction anthology Hadha Baladuna: Arab American Narratives of Boundary and Belonging, which will be published by Wayne State University Press in June 2022. Ghassan lives with his wife and daughter in Ann Arbor, Michigan.