Arabic Poems

Edited by Marle Hammond
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Hardcover
$20.00 US
4.4"W x 6.5"H x 0.8"D  
On sale Aug 05, 2014 | 288 Pages | 9780375712432
| Grades AP/IB
A bilingual anthology of poems from the sixth century to the present, Arabic Poems is a one-of-a-kind showcase of a fascinating literary tradition.

The Arabic poetic legacy is as vast as it is deep, spanning a period of fifteen centuries in regions from Morocco to Iraq. Themes of love, nature, religion, and politics recur in works drawn from the pre-Islamic oral tradition through poems anticipating the recent Arab Spring.

Editor Marlé Hammond has selected more than fifty poems reflecting desire and longing of various kinds: for the beloved, for the divine, for the homeland, and for change and renewal. Poets include the legendary pre-Islamic warrior ‘Antara, medieval Andalusian poet Ibn Zaydun, the mystical poet Rabi‘a al-‘Adawiyya, and the influential Egyptian Romantic Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi. Here too are literary giants of the past century: Khalil Jibran, author of the best-selling The Prophet; popular Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani; Palestinian feminist Fadwa Tuqan; Mahmoud Darwish, bard of occupation and exile; acclaimed iconoclast Adonis; and more. In their evocations of heroism, nostalgia, mysticism, grief, and passion, the poems gathered here transcend the limitations of time and place.
Foreword
 
Imru’ al-Qays, “Mu’allaqa”
Labid, “Mu’allaqa”
‘Antara, “Mu’allaqa”
‘Antara, “Abla’s spirit”
Al-Shanfara, “L-Poem of the Arabs”
‘Abid, “I watched through the night”
‘Abid, “No thunder came”
Al-Khansa’, “Lament for a Brother”
Maysun, “Song of Maisuna”
Umar Ibn Abi Rabi’a, “Ah for the throes of a heart sorely wounded!”
Majnun Layla, “I last saw Laila”
Majnun Layla, “Laila I loved”
Rabi’a al’-Adawiyya, “Two ways I love Thee”
Abu Nuwas, “O moon called forth by lament”
Abu Nuwas, “She sent her likeness stealing in dream”
‘Ulayya Bint al-Mahdi, “Three Love Epigrams”
Al-Ma’arri, “Some Power troubled our affairs”
Al-Ma’arri, “Bewildered”
Ibn Zaydun, “Poem in N”
Wallada, “Must separation mean we have no way to meet?”
Qasmuna Bint Isma’il, “Seeing Herself Beautiful and Nubile”
Al-Mu’tamid, “Of the Place of His Youth”
Al-Mu’tamid, “The Letter”
Ibn Quzman, “Muwashshaha”
Al-A’ma al-Tutili, “Muwashshaha”
Ibn Sara, “Oranges”
Ibn Sara, “Aubergines”
Ibn Hamdis, “Moon in Eclipse”
Ibn Hamdis, “Water-lilies”
Ibn Khafaja, “Lovely Maid”
Ibn Khafaja, “Lovely River”
Hafsa Bint al-Hajj, “Those lips I praise”
Ibn al-‘Arabi, “As night let its curtains down in folds”
Ibn al-‘Arabi, “The tombs of those who loved them”
Ibn Nubata al-Misri, “I have renounced and given up all speech sublime”
Jibran Khalil Jibran, “Of Happiness and Hope”
Jibran Khalil Jibran, “Of Love”
Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi, “The Will of Life”
Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi, “Evening Prayer”
Fadwa Tuqan, “I Found It”
Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, “Rain Song”
Salma Khadra Jayyusi, “Shudan”
Nizar Qabbani, “I want to write different words for you”
Nizar Qabbani, “Take all the books”
Nizar Qabbani, “I want to make you a unique alphabet”
Adonis, from This Is My Name
Muhammad al-Maghut, “Dream”
Mahmoud Darwish, “We were Missing a Present”
Mahmoud Darwish, “A Lesson from Kama Sutra”
Mohammed Bennis, “Rose of Dust”
Iman Mersal, “Solitude Exercises”
 
Biographies of the Poets
Acknowledgments 
 
Foreword

Arabic poetry is as vast as it is deep, encompassing all manner of poetic expression from Morocco to Iraq and spanning more than fifteen centuries. In its early stages it formed part of an oral tradition, and there were systematic and collective efforts to transmit it to later generations. Poetry not only entertained and delighted, it also served to memorialize individuals, communities and events. When scholars and scribes of the second and third Islamic centuries (ninth and tenth centuries, ce) began to record this inheritance in writing, it served as an important foundation forknowledge. Even today,it has pride of place in the public domain, engaging the elites and the masses in equal measure, albeit in different registers.

This anthology attempts to capture the breadth and depth of the Arabic poetic legacy through its inclusion of pieces composed from pre-Islamic times through to the twenty-first century. It does not claim to offer a representative sampling, however. Instead, in an effort to lend coherence to the anthology and to appeal to the lay reader, I have selected poems reflecting sentiments of desire or longing, poems whose most immediate meanings transcend the limitations of time and space. Such expressions of yearning occur in a wide variety of genres. In addition to straight- forward love poetry, or ghazal, we find mystical poems and elegies. The nostalgic stance of the heroic odes, including the celebrated Mu'allaqat, with their contemplation of the beloved’s abandoned campsite and their emphasis on cycles of death and rebirth, famine and feasting, leave the poetic persona and reader alike aching for the spring rains. Al-Shanfara’s ‘L-Poem’, ostensibly a poem of rejection which subverts tribal values, strikes one as a portrait of a terribly lonely person longing for companionship and family. The ancient genre of ‘longing for homelands’ (al-hanin ila alawtan), represented here by the ‘Song of Maisuna’, finds echoes in the selections of the exiled modern poets. Some of the pieces in the anthology read as expressions of sheer delight, or as an appreciation of everyday affairs, while others, particularly among the modern selections, express an anti-nostalgic and deeply felt yearning for change. It is hoped that the reader will find these poems diverting, moving and provocative.

Marlé Hammond

Note:
Pre-modern Arabic poems were not given titles. The titles for these selections have either been assigned by the translators or drawn from the wording of the poem (usually the opening verse).

About

A bilingual anthology of poems from the sixth century to the present, Arabic Poems is a one-of-a-kind showcase of a fascinating literary tradition.

The Arabic poetic legacy is as vast as it is deep, spanning a period of fifteen centuries in regions from Morocco to Iraq. Themes of love, nature, religion, and politics recur in works drawn from the pre-Islamic oral tradition through poems anticipating the recent Arab Spring.

Editor Marlé Hammond has selected more than fifty poems reflecting desire and longing of various kinds: for the beloved, for the divine, for the homeland, and for change and renewal. Poets include the legendary pre-Islamic warrior ‘Antara, medieval Andalusian poet Ibn Zaydun, the mystical poet Rabi‘a al-‘Adawiyya, and the influential Egyptian Romantic Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi. Here too are literary giants of the past century: Khalil Jibran, author of the best-selling The Prophet; popular Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani; Palestinian feminist Fadwa Tuqan; Mahmoud Darwish, bard of occupation and exile; acclaimed iconoclast Adonis; and more. In their evocations of heroism, nostalgia, mysticism, grief, and passion, the poems gathered here transcend the limitations of time and place.

Table of Contents

Foreword
 
Imru’ al-Qays, “Mu’allaqa”
Labid, “Mu’allaqa”
‘Antara, “Mu’allaqa”
‘Antara, “Abla’s spirit”
Al-Shanfara, “L-Poem of the Arabs”
‘Abid, “I watched through the night”
‘Abid, “No thunder came”
Al-Khansa’, “Lament for a Brother”
Maysun, “Song of Maisuna”
Umar Ibn Abi Rabi’a, “Ah for the throes of a heart sorely wounded!”
Majnun Layla, “I last saw Laila”
Majnun Layla, “Laila I loved”
Rabi’a al’-Adawiyya, “Two ways I love Thee”
Abu Nuwas, “O moon called forth by lament”
Abu Nuwas, “She sent her likeness stealing in dream”
‘Ulayya Bint al-Mahdi, “Three Love Epigrams”
Al-Ma’arri, “Some Power troubled our affairs”
Al-Ma’arri, “Bewildered”
Ibn Zaydun, “Poem in N”
Wallada, “Must separation mean we have no way to meet?”
Qasmuna Bint Isma’il, “Seeing Herself Beautiful and Nubile”
Al-Mu’tamid, “Of the Place of His Youth”
Al-Mu’tamid, “The Letter”
Ibn Quzman, “Muwashshaha”
Al-A’ma al-Tutili, “Muwashshaha”
Ibn Sara, “Oranges”
Ibn Sara, “Aubergines”
Ibn Hamdis, “Moon in Eclipse”
Ibn Hamdis, “Water-lilies”
Ibn Khafaja, “Lovely Maid”
Ibn Khafaja, “Lovely River”
Hafsa Bint al-Hajj, “Those lips I praise”
Ibn al-‘Arabi, “As night let its curtains down in folds”
Ibn al-‘Arabi, “The tombs of those who loved them”
Ibn Nubata al-Misri, “I have renounced and given up all speech sublime”
Jibran Khalil Jibran, “Of Happiness and Hope”
Jibran Khalil Jibran, “Of Love”
Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi, “The Will of Life”
Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi, “Evening Prayer”
Fadwa Tuqan, “I Found It”
Badr Shakir al-Sayyab, “Rain Song”
Salma Khadra Jayyusi, “Shudan”
Nizar Qabbani, “I want to write different words for you”
Nizar Qabbani, “Take all the books”
Nizar Qabbani, “I want to make you a unique alphabet”
Adonis, from This Is My Name
Muhammad al-Maghut, “Dream”
Mahmoud Darwish, “We were Missing a Present”
Mahmoud Darwish, “A Lesson from Kama Sutra”
Mohammed Bennis, “Rose of Dust”
Iman Mersal, “Solitude Exercises”
 
Biographies of the Poets
Acknowledgments 
 

Excerpt

Foreword

Arabic poetry is as vast as it is deep, encompassing all manner of poetic expression from Morocco to Iraq and spanning more than fifteen centuries. In its early stages it formed part of an oral tradition, and there were systematic and collective efforts to transmit it to later generations. Poetry not only entertained and delighted, it also served to memorialize individuals, communities and events. When scholars and scribes of the second and third Islamic centuries (ninth and tenth centuries, ce) began to record this inheritance in writing, it served as an important foundation forknowledge. Even today,it has pride of place in the public domain, engaging the elites and the masses in equal measure, albeit in different registers.

This anthology attempts to capture the breadth and depth of the Arabic poetic legacy through its inclusion of pieces composed from pre-Islamic times through to the twenty-first century. It does not claim to offer a representative sampling, however. Instead, in an effort to lend coherence to the anthology and to appeal to the lay reader, I have selected poems reflecting sentiments of desire or longing, poems whose most immediate meanings transcend the limitations of time and space. Such expressions of yearning occur in a wide variety of genres. In addition to straight- forward love poetry, or ghazal, we find mystical poems and elegies. The nostalgic stance of the heroic odes, including the celebrated Mu'allaqat, with their contemplation of the beloved’s abandoned campsite and their emphasis on cycles of death and rebirth, famine and feasting, leave the poetic persona and reader alike aching for the spring rains. Al-Shanfara’s ‘L-Poem’, ostensibly a poem of rejection which subverts tribal values, strikes one as a portrait of a terribly lonely person longing for companionship and family. The ancient genre of ‘longing for homelands’ (al-hanin ila alawtan), represented here by the ‘Song of Maisuna’, finds echoes in the selections of the exiled modern poets. Some of the pieces in the anthology read as expressions of sheer delight, or as an appreciation of everyday affairs, while others, particularly among the modern selections, express an anti-nostalgic and deeply felt yearning for change. It is hoped that the reader will find these poems diverting, moving and provocative.

Marlé Hammond

Note:
Pre-modern Arabic poems were not given titles. The titles for these selections have either been assigned by the translators or drawn from the wording of the poem (usually the opening verse).

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