Publisher: Poetry Translation Centre
Featured poets: Najwan Darwish
'Embrace by Najwan Darwish continues the Poetry Translation Centre's amazing project to bring work from all over the world to the attention of English-speaking eyes and ears. Darwish is very much a poet for our fractured times and works hard to make work that is at once approachable but which also sings with great depth of meaning. As he says 'We will keep meeting and bidding farewell/like two lost waves in a vast sea’.’
Najwan Darwish is one of the most significant voices to have emerged in Arabic this century. His poems – often written in response to historical injustices in Palestine and beyond – can be woundingly direct or disconcertingly witty. This selection of his recent work showcases the variety and force of his lyric talent.
The Poetry Translation Centre’s World Poet Series showcases the most exciting living poets from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The poems in this edition have been translated by Atef Alshear working with the poet Paul Batchelor.
With an Afterword by Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee.
Arabic / English
Najwan Darwish is a Palestinian poet born in Jerusalem. He published his first book of poetry in 2000 and has been an important literary figure ever since. He has published eight books in Arabic, and his work has been translated into over twenty languages. The New York Review Books, which published the English translation of his collection Nothing More to Lose in 2014, describes him as ‘one of the foremost Arabic-language poets of his generation’.
Darwish has co-founded and directed cultural projects throughout the Arab world and served as the literary advisor to the Palestine Festival of Literature. He has held many key positions in cultural journalism and has been the Chief Cultural Editor of the Arabic-language London-based newspaper Al Araby Al Jadeed since 2014. Darwish lives between Jerusalem and Haif.
Translated by Atef Alshear with Paul Batchelor
Atef Alshaer is a Senior lecturer in Arabic Studies at the University of Westminster. He was educated at Birzeit University in Palestine and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of several publications in the fields of language, literature and politics, including Poetry and Politics in the Modern Arab World, 2016 and The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication (with Dina Matar and Lina Khatib), 2014. He also writes and translates poetry. He has been active translator for the Poetry Translation Centre since 2008.
Paul Batchelor was born in Northumberland. His first book, The Sinking Road, was published by Bloodaxe in 2008, and in 2014 he published a chapbook, The Love Darg, with Clutag. His recent poems have appeared in The London Review of Books and Poetry.
Paul has won a number of prizes for his work, including an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2003, the Times Stephen Spender Prize for Translation in 2009, and the Editor’s Prize for Reviewing from the Poetry Foundation of America in 2018. He is Director of Creative Writing at Durham University.
Embrace is the winner of a PEN Translates award.