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Marilyn Hacker

Taher Bekri: Epic of the Thyme of Palestine

[Taker Bekri. Image from Author]

  Epic of the Thyme of Palestine By Taher Bekri In memory of Mahmoud Darwish Translated by Marilyn Hacker   I perfumed the hills and plains Nourished by brilliant light Accompanied wanderers’ steps Through the earth’s ancestral rites All those domes, bell-towers, temples Offered up for a thousand prayers   That sudden rain which mingled My scent with the steadfast stones Alert for gaping rifts The rocks grasp leaves that I dropped In the dusk ...

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Leila Sebbar: I Do Not Speak My Father's Language

[Leila Sebbar. Image from Author]

From Leila Sebbar's Je ne parle pas la langue de mon père Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker.   I Do Not Speak My Father's Language   A few useful dates so as not to get lost in the maze of memory: My father is born in 1913 in Tènès. From 1932 to 1935, he studies at the teachers’ college in Bouzaréah, in Algiers, where he meets Mouloud Feraoun, assassinated in March 1962 by the OAS. He will be a schoolteacher and school principal: from 1935 to ...

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Five Texts by Zakaria Tamer

[Zakaria Tamer. Image from Arabiyya.net]

Five Texts by Zakaria Tamer Translated by Marilyn Hacker Who are you? Who is the Syrian? The Syrian is an unknown citizen, he did not become famous for having chosen death, prison, and endurance over suffering and self-abasement as the path to freedom. The Syrian is a citizen living outside Syria and a citizen living within its borders readying himself to leave as soon as he is able, and what unites Syrians inside and outside Syria is a loathing of tyrants and ...

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Five Poems by Rachida Madani

[Rachida Madani at a Reading. Image from Author]

TALES OF A SEVERED HEAD Rachida Madani Translated by Marilyn Hacker   The First Tale I What city and what night since it’s night in the city when a woman and a train-station argue over the same half of a man who is leaving? He is young, handsome he is leaving for a piece of white bread. She is young, beautiful as a springtime cluster trying to flower for the last time for her man who is leaving. But the train arrives but the branch breaks but suddenly ...

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Vénus Khoury-Ghata: The House of Nettles

[Photo by Sue Tortoise, Flickr]

Tireless mother, worthy descendant of a line of peasant women working as long as daylight lasted, as long as night permitted them to tell a lentil from a pebble. Only sleep could still the hands that washed, sewed, cut, peeled, kneaded, cradled. Sleep vertiginous as a stone hurled into a well. Hands that resisted winter, pain, even snakebites from the serpents they trod upon barefoot.  Peasant women and ladies at once, taking control of everything, except their fear of ...

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