“I do not belong to me.”

In this month’s Harper’s, Robyn Creswell, a comp lit doctoral candidate at NYU, reviews six Mahmoud Darwish poetry collections in translation.  I really appreciated the review’s depth, analysis, and comprehensive understanding of Arabic poetry in general and Palestinian politics and poetry in particular.  It’s really worth a read.  One of my favorite parts of the review:

In [Memory for Forgetfullness], Darwish imagines that he is visited by an old friend, a PLO representative assassinated in Paris… Darwish asks him what life is like in the afterlife. “It’s just like here,” the ghost shrugs. The weather is hot and humid, just like August in Beirut.  In the afterlife they watch television all day too, mostly the news, trying to keep up to date on the progress of the siege. …A peculiarly Palestinian humor is at work in this scene, in which the afterlife, rather than providing the houris and comforts of paradise, turns out to be just another case of airport ennui.”

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