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in jerusalem

Some inspiring literary discoveries today at the Winternachten festival in The Hague, at a program ironically titled How to Bluff your Way into Arabic Literature. Featuring eight poets and writers from countries ranging from Morocco to Lebanon (and everything in between), each author read from their own work, as well as a favorite excerpt from Arabic literature.

Among the younger generation, Egyptian Ahmed Alaidy and Palestine Tamim Al-Barghouti stood out. Alaidy read from his novel 'Being Abbas El Abd', a humorous, angry-young-man account of a video store clerk at "Amerco Video Film", abounding in postmodern wordplay and global-cultural references. (Word of the day: "Decidophobia: fear of making decisions.")

Even more furious was Al-Barghouti's poem 'In Jerusalem', a long Ginsbergian rant against the current political situation that is as incendiary as it is eloquent. Apparently, Al-Barghouti became greatly popular after participating in a TV poetry contest called The Prince of Poets, aired throughout the Arab world. For the full story (in English) and video (in Arabic) of Al-Barghouti reading his poem, see this post from 3 Quarks Daily.

Unfortunately, there's no translation of the poem online...

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global literature

At the opening of the Winternachten literary festival in The Hague, Indian writer and critic Pankaj Mishra lectured on ' The Globalization of Literature, the Making of an Illusion .' Quite a mouthful, the title reflected his treatment… Read the full post »

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