British Writers In Support of Palestine

March 1, 2018

A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry [Chichester Launch]

 

Following November’s sell-out launch at London’s P21 Gallery, celebrations of the new bilingual anthology A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry (Smokestack Books) continue.  The first review has appeared – and is glowing! – while February saw editor Naomi Foyle in discussion with Sarah Irving, editor of the landmark Scottish-Palestinian anthology A Bird is Not a Stone (Freight Books, 2015), an event chaired by Farah Aridi for Hibr: A Festival of Arab Poetry (Goldsmiths English PEN). Next up is a launch at Chichester University, where on Monday March 12th poet Mustafa Abu Sneineh and translator Waleed Al-Bazoon will join Naomi Foyle, also a Senior Lecturer at the University, for a reading of poems and translations from the book, followed by discussion and Q&A.

Monday March 12
4 – 5 pm
Academic Block 1.01
Bishop Otter Campus
College Lane
Chichester
P019 6PE
All welcome.  Free.

Should a trip to Chichester seem a daunting prospect, rest assured that the book can be ordered at any UK bookshop, or direct from the publisher.

* * *

A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry brings together, in English and Arabic, new work by poets from the Palestinian territories, from the diaspora, and from within the disputed borders of Israel. Presenting work by Marwan Makhoul, Maya Abu Al-Hayyat, Fatena Al-Ghorra, Dareen Tatour, Ashraf Fayadh, Fady Joudah, Naomi Shihab Nye, Deema K. Shehabi, Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Farid Bitar, Sara Saleh and Mahmoud Darwish, and featuring an introduction by the book’s editor, poet and activist Naomi Foyle, the anthology celebrates the flourishing cultural resistance of the Palestinian people to decades of displacement, occupation, exile and bombardment. Voices fresh and seasoned converse with history, sing to the land, and courageously nurture an attachment to human fragility. Written in free verse and innovative forms, hip hop rhythms and the Arabic lyric tradition, these poems bear witness both to catastrophe, and to the powerful determination to survive it.

Smokestack Books is a small independent press based in Yorkshire. Smokestack champions poets who are unfashionable, radical, left-field and working a long way from the metropolitan centres of cultural authority. Smokestack is interested in the World as well as the Word; believes that poetry is a part of and not apart from society; argues that if poetry does not belong to everyone it is not poetry.

A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry was part-funded by a University of Chichester Research Development Award, granted to the editor. A portion of proceeds from the book will be donated toward the legal fees of Ashraf Fayadh and Dareen Tatour, both currently imprisoned, respectively in Saudi Arabia and Israel, on charges related to their poetry.

Mustafa Abu Sneineh is a poet and writer from Jerusalem. His first poetry collection A Black Cloud at The End of The Line was published in 2016. He holds a degree in Law from Birzeit University, Palestine and an MA in Postcolonial Studies from Goldsmiths College, London.

Waleed Al-Bazoon is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Basra in Iraq. He holds a PhD in Contemporary Fiction from the University of Chichester, where he has taught in the Department of English and Creative Writing, and is currently a Fellow. His poetry collection The War on Idigna appeared in 2011.

Naomi Foyle is an award-winning poet, novelist, verse dramatist, and essayist. Her books include The Night Pavilion, an Autumn 2008 Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and The Gaia Chronicles, a science fantasy quartet. In 2017 she co-translated the poetry collection Wounds of the Cloud by Yasser Khanger (Al Ma’mal Foundation, Jerusalem).

 

 

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October 3, 2017

A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry – Crowdfunding Begins!

 

Looking for a way to support the Palestinian cultural resistance? Why not feed the poets! The forthcoming Smokestack Books anthology A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry is crowdfunding now, seeking to raise money to help pay contributors’ fees and printing costs, and to donate to the legal campaigns of imprisoned poets Ashraf Fayadh and Dareen Tatour. There’s more information below, or just click here to go straight to the site. Thank you for anything you can do to help – even if just spreading the word!

‘Against barbarity,’ said the celebrated Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (1942-2008), ‘poetry can resist only by cultivating an attachment to human frailty, like a blade of grass growing on a wall as armies march by.’ 

A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry brings together, in English and Arabic,  new work by poets from the Palestinian territories, from the diaspora, and from within the disputed borders of Israel. Presenting work by Marwan MakhoulMaya Abu Al-HayyatFatena Al-GharraDareen TatourAshraf FayadhFady JoudahNaomi Shihab NyeDeema K. ShehabiMustafa Abu SneinehFarid BitarShahid NWASara Saleh and Mahmoud Darwish, and featuring a 12 page introduction by the book’s editor, poet and activist Naomi Foyle, the anthology celebrates the flourishing cultural resistance of the Palestinian people to decades of displacement, occupation, exile and bombardment. Voices fresh and seasoned converse with history, sing to the land, and courageously nurture an attachment to human fragility. Written in free verse and innovative forms, hip hop rhythms and the Arabic lyric tradition, these poems bear witness both to catastrophe, and to the powerful determination to survive it.

Smokestack Books is a small independent press that receives no public subsidy. The publisher and the editor are working pro bono. The book is partially funded by a research grant from the University of Chichester, awarded to the editor, which has allowed her to pay a small contributors’ fee of £10 a page.  This crowdfunding campaign seeks to increase this fee to a more professional rate; to cover design and printing costs for the book; and to raise money toward the legal fees of Ashraf Fayadh and Dareen Tatour, both currently imprisoned, respectively in Saudi Arabia and Israel, on charges related to their poetry.

Translators: Josh CalvoRaphael CohenKatharine HallsSarah Maguire and Anna Murison [c/o the Poetry Translation Centre], Tariq Al-HaydarAndrew LeberWaleed Al-BazoonWejdan Shamala.

Monies raised to support Ashraf Fayadh will be donated to the English PEN campaign on his behalf.  Funds raised for Dareen Tatour will be donated to the Free Dareen Tatour campaign.

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