POETRY FORMAT, 20 Aug 2018
Introduction by Gary Corseri: My decade-long poet/writer-friend, Farid Bitar, sent me A BLADE OF GRASS, a fine anthology of new Palestinian poetry, astutely edited by Naomi Foyle and featuring work by Farid, Naomi Shihab Nye and 10 other poets of the Palestinian diaspora. Published by Smokestack Books, the text is handsomely presented in English and in aesthetically pleasing Arabic. A team of translators also do first-rate work, rendering Arabic original poetry into English. Ms. Foyle’s intro is a splendid enticement to explore the poems and to understand the suffering and yearning of these disenfranchised Semitic people. Here is a sample from Farid’s poem, “O! Jericho“:
Jericho has the best mint tea on earth
Tasted the sweetest oranges on earth
Felt I’m back to my happy childhood
Felt I’m in ‘deja vu’ land
When I smelled the rain
Evaporating in the hot summer days
Poof gone in seconds
Where I walked through the streets
When I was my older brother’s tail
Going to school Terra Sancta
Jericho O! Jericho
Home of the Mount of Temptation
The Ummayad Winter Palaces
Home of the best lemon trees
Where I smelled the jasmine perfuming the streets
Also home of the Refugee Camps
Poverty and misery nowadays
Drove through the valley
Along the River Jordan
Where Jesus washed his feet
Drove to Tiberia Lake
Drove to Nazareth
Home of the famous prophet
Jericho O! Jericho
Home of the Dead Sea
Where nothing lives now
Even fish left town.
Farid Bitar is a Palestinian-American poet, born in Jerusalem in 1961. The editor of the anthology, Treasury of Arabic Love, his own collections include Footprints in the Mist and two CDs, Fatoosh and Shutat…. Fuzzy Lines–67/48, a collection of poems and paintings, is forthcoming in 2018.
Dr. Gary Steven Corseri is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He has published and posted articles, fiction and poems at hundreds of venues, including, TMS (Transcend Media Service), The New York Times, Village Voice, Redbook Magazine and Counterpunch. He has published 2 novels and 2 collections of poetry, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has performed his poems at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum and has taught in universities in the US and Japan, and in US public schools and prisons. Contact: Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 20 Aug 2018.
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