North Korean Poet Choi Jin I is featured in an article in the recent summer issue of Ms. magazine. Check out part of an interview with her on our may 8 posting.
Khaled Mattawa is a Libyan poet now living in the United States. I have already posted several of his translations (Iraqi poets Fadhil al-Azzawi and Saadi Youssef) but I would like to add that he has two books of his own poetry available: Ismailia Eclipse, Sheep Meadow Press, 1995, and Zodiac of Echoes, Ausable Press, 2003.
Here is a poem from Ismailia Eclipse:
History of my face
My lips came with a caravan of slaves
that belonged to the Grand Sanussi.
In Al-Jaghbub he freed them.
They still live in the poor section of Benghazi
near the hospital where I was born.
They never meant to settle
in Tokara those Greeks
whose eyebrows I wear
-then they smelled the wild sage
and declared my country their birthplace.
The Knights of St. John invaded Tripoli.
The residents of the city
sought help from Istanbul. In 1531
the Turks brought along my nose.
My hair stretches back
to a concubine of Septimus Severus.
She made his breakfast,
bore four of his sons.
Uqba took my city
in the name of God.
We sit by his grave
and I sing to you:
Sweet lashes, arrow-sharp,
is that my face I see
reflected in your eyes?
All this week (June 7-11) Slate online has been carrying a journal by intrepid traveletr Richard Bangs as he leads a hiking group into southwestern Libya, trying to be the first American ecotour group there. Good info and pictures:
All week I have been hearing President Reagan saying "Mr. Gorbachav, tear down that wall."
Well, Mr. President (and Mr. Candidate) tear down that embargo.
I would like to direct your attention to a blogsite where you can break the embargo on poetry yourself, or view work by others who are so inclined. You can also see the original legal documents concerning the embargoed countries and the illegalities of editing and publishing the work of writers from these countries:http://rebeledit.blogspot.com
I also want to remind those of you who are new to this blog to please check out our archives, where there are more poems.