/Fractured Time by Monther Jawabreh/
Like A Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems is Ghassan Zaqtan’s tenth poetry collection, published in 2012. The poems were translated by Fady Joudah, bringing some of Zaqtan’s best poetry to English-language readers.
Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan is one of the most famous and original poets writing in Arabic today. He is also a novelist, editor, playwright, and journalist.
Zaqtan’s poetry is modern, at times deceivingly simple, but always deep and striking – like a sharp knife. Departing from the lush aesthetics of celebrated predecessors as Mahmoud Darwish, Adonis and Qabbani, Zaqtan’s daily, delicate narrative, whirling catalogues, and austere aesthetics represent a new trajectory, a significant leap for young Arabic poets today.
In the poem Remembering The Repenant, Zaqtan writes:
after they leave
on the pillow
and a candle
in a wish.
In the preface of the book Fady Joudah writes how Zaqtan moved away from mythologizing exile and displacement and he homed in on the poems as textural movements, visual and tactile, whose reservoir of everyday things became endless projections that sculpt (or crumble) sound and form.
Zaqtan is a Palestinian poet who has come to ask us questions of the deterritorialized existence, and that is the great innovation of his poetry, when comparing it with other Palestinian poets. It is not to say that Zaqtan writing isn’t political – it is, but political comes in different forms and layers. In his poems, it’s more like a subterranean river.
In the poem A going, Zaqtan writes:
Leave us something
we’d be sad if you leave.
Leave us, for example,
if you’d like,
your last photo by the door.
our summer trip together
the scent of a pine,
your words or your tobacco
And don’t go
like a sword.
Read this beautiful poetry collection, it’s a work of love, and I have only praise and love for it.
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