"Midnight and Other Poems is the most powerful and interesting collection I have read for a very long time."
"Never mind that I speak not a word of Arabic. Mourid Barghouti's poetry shines through the translation. There are arresting images on almost every page."
Mourid Barghouti has spent many years in exile, and his long poem ‘Midnight’ is a rich montage of images of the land of his birth and the strong emotional responses to which these images give rise. Here, anger, frustration and despair are juxtaposed with yearning and tenderness in Barghouti’s powerful and evocative account of occupation, violence and oppression. The shorter poems which comprise the second half of the book are, by turns, dramatic and hard-hitting, contemplative and reflective, and together present an equally powerful and graphic picture of the poet’s homeland.
In Radwa Ashour’s excellent translation, and with a helpful introduction by Guy Mannes-Abbott who recorded a number of conversations with the poet over a period of several weeks, this selection of Mourid Barghouti’s poems marks an important addition to the body of Arabic literature available to English-language readers world-wide.
Mourid Barghouti was born in July 1944 in Deir Ghassana near Ramallah, Palestine. He has published twelve books of poetry, the last of which is Muntasaf al-Layl / Midnight, Beirut, 2005. His Collected Works came out in Beirut in 1997. A Small Sun, his first poetry book in English translation, was published by The Aldeburgh Poetry Trust in 2003. In 2000, he was awarded the Palestine Award for Poetry. He lives in Cairo.
About the translator:
Radwa Ashour is an Egyptian writer and scholar, currently Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Ain Shams University, Cairo. Well-known as a novelist and writer of short stories, she has also co-edited a major work on Arab Women’s literature. As a translator, she has translated into English much of the poetry of Mourid Barghouti, to whom she has been married for many years. In 2007, Radwa Ashour was awarded the Constantine Cavafy International Prize for Literature.
About the introducer:
Guy Mannes-Abbott has written about writers and thinkers from across the world for The Independent, Guardian, New Statesman and other publications. He has written catalogue essays on contemporary Indian art, speculative essays about London and taught at the AA School of Architecture in London. He is the author of a series of widely published texts – poems, stories and aphorisms called e.things.