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Culture Editors

Culture Page Editors

October 2015 Culture Bouquet

[One of the most popular images of Dia de Los Muertos, Jose Guadalupe Posada's Calavera Catrina (1913).]

In Mexico 1 November is a day of celebration that honors the lives of the dead with symbolic offerings, festivities, and elaborate alters. An indigenous tradition that began at least 2,000 years ago, Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) stems from the belief that death is a transition marking a new phase of life, an inevitability that should be celebrated and embraced not feared. With the introduction of Christianity under Spanish colonialism, Dia de Los Muertos was merged ...

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September/15 Culture

[Art by Muhammad Muriddin (Iraq, 1938-2015]

Following a summer hiatus our monthly culture bouquet is back. On display this month:  * Khaled Al-Hilli translates a short story by the Ghaib Tu`ma Farman. * Taline Voskeritchian writes about an orphan photograph. * Anni Weaver translates a short story by Ghassan Kanafani. * Sharif Elmusa offers a poem about Alyan al-Kurdi's death. * Kevin Blankinship translates a poem by al-Ma`arri. Interested in contributing to Jadaliyya Culture? Have questions or comments? ...

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March Culture Bouquet

[Detail of Athir Shayota's

Jadaliyya’s Culture Bouquet returns with a March edition of art and literature. Included in this month’s batch are interviews with artists, monograph essays, and a translation of a short story by Ghassan Kanafani. With this series of art-related posts, stay tuned as Jadaliyya Culture expands its coverage of the North African and West Asian contemporary art scenes in the months to come with contributions from a new batch of experts in the field. In the meantime a sneak peek ...

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January Culture Bouquet

[Painting by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, image from Najeeb Farraj,]

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? — Shelley Even in winter, some flowers will bloom. Their blossoms may be fragile, sad and short-lived, but the strongest of all flowers are those which fight the ice. Each petal reminds us that the dead land is yet not dead, and that dull roots soon will stir with spring rain and with that, memory and desire may mix. Here is a bouquet of long-stem pieces that do not fear the frost.  — ...

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Badr Shakir al-Sayyab: Fifty Years On

[Youth washing Sayyab's statue in Basra, image from]

The great Iraqi poet Badr Shakir al-Sayyab died fifty years ago today, on December 24, 1964. During his short life, Sayyab changed the language and form of Arabic poetry for good: in part, by breaking centuries' old meters and remaking the rhythms of verse; in part, by engaging intensely with a number of traditions and world literatures at the same time; and always, by engaging with the political, cultural and social dynamics of the moment he lived in. During his early ...

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October Culture

[Art by Sabhan Adam (Syria). Image from]

Our October culture bouquet arrives a bit late, but heavy on poetry, original, and translated; Marilyn Hacker, Deema Shehabi, and Sheida Dayani share their new poems. Sinan Antoon translates Amjad Nasser and Ghatfan Ghannum, and Suneela Mubayi translates a poem by Wadi Saadeh. Margot Badran reviews Qarm Qart's latest exhibtion:  Margot Badran, Moving in the Maze with Cairene Artist Qarm Qart Marilyn Hacker and Deema Shehabi, Excerpts from Diaspo/Renga Sheida ...

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September Culture Bouquet

[Safwan Dahoul,

Almost a decade ago, Saadi Youssef began his poem "Imru' al-Qays' Grandson" by asking: "Is it your fault that once you were born in that country? / Three quarters of a century / and you still pay from your ebbing blood / its tax." He ended the poem with an even more vexing question: "What is it to you / now when you are asked to do the impossible?" As this long hot summer ends, we would not be mistaken to imagine these lines could be about ...

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July Culture Bouquet

[Detail of Mouteea Murad's

July has been quite eventful and cruel. Neymar is out and the Caliphate is in and on. And we have a colorful bouquet for our readers. Elliot Colla examines the military-literary complex and the pervasive network of embedded iterature. Sonja Mejcher-Atassi curates a conversation between Charif KIwan and Akra Zaatarai. Jonathan Wright translates an excerpt from Amjad Nasser's novel, Land of No Rain. Soraya Morayef interviews Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa. Gelare Khoshgozaran ...

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Culture Bouquet

[Francisco de Zurbarán,

Your eyes do not deceive you, dear reader, Jadaliyya’s Culture Bouquet returns with a rich selection of translations and visual arts related posts, providing ample inspiration for your adventures in summer reading. For poetry lovers: Levi Thompson translates Badr Shakir al Sayyab’s poem, “Whorehouse;” Sharif S. Elmusa contributes the poem “How Long Does A Transition Last?;” Ahmad Diab translates Muhammad al-Maghut’s "Roman Amphitheaters;" and Suneela Mubayi ...

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2013 Culture Highlights


As Mark Twain wrote on New Year’s Day in 1863, “Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.” Before readers embark on that treacherous path, Jadaliyya Culture offers a selection of 2013 highlights for a preemptive enrichment of souls and minds. Below are twenty-five entries that have sharpened critical readings of culture. Stay tuned for more reviews, essays, excerpts, translations, ...

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Early Fall Culture


The days might get shorter, but culture never does. Below is a selection of Jadaliyya Culture’s recent content for readers to revisit or discover.  Sinan Antoon discusses the translation of his novel, The Corpse Washer Jonathan Guyer discusses the old/new red lines of political cartooning in Egypt Kamran Rastegar reviews Bahman Ghobadi’s Rhino Season and Mohammadreza Farzad’s Falgoosh Katie Cella reviews She Who Tells a Story at the Museum of Fine Arts, ...

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July/August Culture

[Hakim al-Akel, from the Bird's Eye series, 2013. Image copyright the artist.]

As the end of summer approaches and lazy days become few and far between, Jadaliyya's Culture Bouquet offers a combined selection of posts in preparation for fall.  Beeta Baghoolizadeh contributes a Visuals in 1500 entry on the nineteenth-century marriage contracts of Mashhadi Jews in Iran. Maymanah Farhat reviews the debut Kuwait pavilion at the 55th International Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Elliott Colla resumes the Revolution Bookshelf series ...

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May/June Culture

[Detail of Amir H. Fallah's

Jadaliyya's Culture Bouquet returns with the first of two summer editions.  Mona Kareem translates a poem by the late Syrian poet Riyadh Alsalih Alhussain. Elisabeth Jaquette translates a short story by Youssef Idris. Maymanah Farhat considers Kamal Boullata's monograph on painter Hani Zurob in a brief post that marks the beginning of a new series of short reviews on the culture page. Maymanah also interviews artist and art magazine publisher Amir H. Fallah as he ...

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April Culture

[Painter Mansur (active ca. 1589-1626)

Jadaliyya's April culture bouquet arrives with a special focus on the visual arts.  Mehri Khalil contributes the first installment of a series of posts on the reopened galleries for Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, and the Louvre Museum. Rima Chahrour profiles the "Self Portrait" performances of Marya Kazoun. Noura Alsager reviews Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige's New York City showing of their ...

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March Culture

[Art by Mahmoud Shubbar, Iraq]

In Jadaliyya's monthly culture bouquet Ella Shohat re-members Baghdad elsewhere, Sinan Antoon translates poems by Iraqi poets Saadi Youssef and Salah Faik, Samia Halaby writes on Abed Abdi and liberation art, and John Halaka contributes to the series Visuals in 1500. Ella Habiba Shohat, "Remembering A Baghdad Elsewhere: An Emotional Cartography." Saadi Youssef, "Genesis 34" (tr. Sinan Antoon) Salah Faik, "On the Tenth Anniversary of Murdering my ...

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February Culture

[Helen Zughaib

Jadaliyya's February Culture Bouquet is our most colorful so far! Our new series Visuals in 1500 returns with contributions by artists Doris Bittar and Sundus Abdul Hadi. Pierre Joris and Habib Tangour share their introduction and selections from their massive anthology of written and oral literature of the Maghreb. Emily Drumsta translates a poem by the pioneer Iraqi poet Nazik al-Mala'ika. Sebastian Anstis translates Libyan writer Omar Al-Kikli. Nicole Fares ...

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January 2013 Culture


Jadaliyya's first monthly culture bouquet of 2013 has arrived! Painters Samia Halaby and Athir Shayota contribute to Visuals in 1500, a new series of profiles that takes a single work of art as the starting point for larger discussions on aesthetics. Marilyn Hacker translates a poem by Taher Bekri. Maia Tabet translates a chapter from Sudanese novelist Amir Tag Elsir's "Ebola '76." Alia Yunis interviews Syrian director Nabil Maleh. Iraqi artist Sadik ...

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December Culture

[Art by Saddam Al-Jumaily (Iraq). Image from Artist]

Our last culture bouquet this year features poetry from Syria and Palestine, fiction from Algeria/France, and two reviews. Marilyn Hacker translates two chapters from Leila Sebbar's I Don't Speak My Father's Language. Kamran Rastegar reviews Ahmad Ghossein's My Father is Still a Communist. Syrian poet Golan Haji co-translates four of his poems. Fady Joudah translates poems by Ghassan Zaqtan. Amin Alsaden reviews a current exhibit about Baghdadi ...

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November Culture

[Art by Saddam Aljumaily (Iraq)]

Jadaliyya's November culture bouquet arrived on the last day of November. Culture Page co-editor Maymanah Farhat reviews a recent exhibit by the Lebanese-American artist Etel Adnan. Mai Serhan reviews Tahani Rached's latest documentary. Ghad Mourad translates poems by the Lebanese poet Wadih Saadeh. Sinan Antoon and Peter Money translate three poems by the Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef: * Maymanah Farhat, "Etel Adnan at the Base of the Mountain." * Ghada Mourad, ...

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October Culture

[A Butterfly in New York City. Image from Sinan Antoon]

Jadaliyya's October culture bouquet features: Marilyn Hacker translates Five Poems by Rachida Madani. Maymanah Farhat introduces Helen Zughaib's "Stories My Father Told Me." Mai Serhan writes on "Huda Lutfi: The Artist and the Historical Moment". Andre Naffis-Sahley translates "Glory to Those Who Torture Us" a poem by Abdellatif Laabi. All previous culture posts can be accessed here. To contribute, comment, or ...

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Culture Editors


Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist and translator. His poems and essays (in Arabic) have appeared in as-Safiral-Adabal-AkhbarMajallat al-Dirasat al-FilastiniyyaMasharef and (in English) in The NationMiddle East ReportAl-Ahram WeeklyBanipalJournal of Palestine StudiesThe Massachusetts ReviewWorld Literature TodayPloughshares, Washington Square Journal, and the New York Times.

He has published two collections of poetry; Mawshur Muballal bil-Hurub (Cairo, 2003) and Laylun Wahidun fi Kull al-Mudun (One Night in All Cities) (Beirut/Baghdad: Dar al-Jamal, 2010). His novels include I`jaam (2003), which has been translated into English as I`jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights, 2006), as well as Norwegian, German, Portuegese, and Italian, Wahdaha Shajarat al-Rumman (The Pomegranate Alone) (Beirut: al-Mu'assassa al-`Arabiyya, 2010), forthcoming from Yale University Press in Spring 2013 as The Corpse Washer, and Ya Maryam (Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2012). His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book In the Presence of Absence, was published by Archipelago Books in 2011 and won the 2012 National Translation Award given by the American LIterary Translators Association (ALTA). His co-translation (with Peter Money) of a selection of Saadi Youssef's late poetry was published by Graywolf in November 2012.

Sinan is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Arab Studies JournalHe is an associate professor at the Gallatin School, New York University and co-founder of Jadaliyya.

Maymanah Farhat is Artistic Director and Chief Writer of Ayyam Gallery, co-editor of Jadaliyya Culture, and a curatorial advisor to the Arab American National Museum. She was listed among Foreign Policy magazine's 2014 Global Thinkers. 

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