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Modern Arabic Poetry: An Anthology

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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 ed 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.


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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 ed 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.

30 review for Modern Arabic Poetry: An Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Therese Broderick

    Published in 1987, this anthology predates the US war in Iraq, and was released at a time when Arab poets "have not yet fully entered the machine age" (page 34). The female editor SKJ selects poems by men and women from many countries, the "earlier generations of modernist" pioneers (page 37). Reading this enlightening book was my first exploration of Arab poetry. I found the poems, the poet biographies, and the excellent introduction to be highly rewarding. Published in 1987, this anthology predates the US war in Iraq, and was released at a time when Arab poets "have not yet fully entered the machine age" (page 34). The female editor SKJ selects poems by men and women from many countries, the "earlier generations of modernist" pioneers (page 37). Reading this enlightening book was my first exploration of Arab poetry. I found the poems, the poet biographies, and the excellent introduction to be highly rewarding.

  2. 4 out of 5

    James F

    An anthology of about 300 poems (or excerpts from longer poems) by 93 different poets, from the end of the nineteenth century to shortly before it was published in 1987, in new English translations, Jayyusi's book gives a good overview of the poetry being written in the Arabic world. It begins with a 40 page introduction giving the history of modern Arabic poetry, which Jayyusi divides into four periods: the revival of poetry at the turn of the century (neo-classic poets such as Ahmad Shauqi, th An anthology of about 300 poems (or excerpts from longer poems) by 93 different poets, from the end of the nineteenth century to shortly before it was published in 1987, in new English translations, Jayyusi's book gives a good overview of the poetry being written in the Arabic world. It begins with a 40 page introduction giving the history of modern Arabic poetry, which Jayyusi divides into four periods: the revival of poetry at the turn of the century (neo-classic poets such as Ahmad Shauqi, the earliest poet included); the Romantics, influenced by European Romanticism, beginning with the Arab (mainly Lebanese) expatriates in North America, most notably Kahlil Gibran; the Symbolists, also influenced by European models; and finally the free-verse movement and modernism. Unfortunately, the division of the book itself is less informative; it is divided simply into two parts, poets established before 1950 and poets who became active after 1950 -- the real dividing event is the Palestinian nakba of 1948 -- the arrangement within each section being alphabetical rather than chronological or stylistic. A few of these poets I had already read quite a bit of (books by Nizar Qabbani, Adunis, Samih al-Qasim and of course Mahmoud Darwish) but there were no poems I recognized as having read; others I had heard of; but most were completely new to me. As with any wide-ranging anthology, the quality was somewhat uneven, but there was a lot of good poetry in this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Withme

    An all around incredible, beautifully translated, and thought-provoking collection of poetry. One of the best anthologies I've stumbled upon and a true treasure. An all around incredible, beautifully translated, and thought-provoking collection of poetry. One of the best anthologies I've stumbled upon and a true treasure.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Corey Wade

    This is a good as it gets for an anthology of Arabic poetry. I was blown away by a couple of the authors and thought that I could get their books in English. They don't exist. There is a bit of an emphasis on writers in the second half of the 20th century. A wide range of authors are presented and each one is given a nice introduction. The translations read beautifully in English, and different translators have been chosen throughout. This book is an important contribution to the English-speaking This is a good as it gets for an anthology of Arabic poetry. I was blown away by a couple of the authors and thought that I could get their books in English. They don't exist. There is a bit of an emphasis on writers in the second half of the 20th century. A wide range of authors are presented and each one is given a nice introduction. The translations read beautifully in English, and different translators have been chosen throughout. This book is an important contribution to the English-speaking world. More Middle Eastern poets deserve to be translated as this text will reveal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert Rhodes

    In this day and age of war and destruction, this book of verse is essential reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    FatmaS

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ravi Shankar

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lama

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hayder Naser

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan Marsh

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Whalen

  13. 5 out of 5

    A

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rania

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tatyana

  16. 4 out of 5

    Farras Abdelnour

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven Seegel

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jane Floor

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ibrahim Abdulmalik

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Agneya dube

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  23. 5 out of 5

    Angela Khurshid

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aoitif Mourchid

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Taglieri

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marielle Risse

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jawan Salameh

  30. 4 out of 5

    May

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