Farewell Damascus

  I confess myself bowled over in appreciation of Ghada Samman’s compelling new novel, Farewell, Damascus, recounting a young married girl’s awakening sense of  having lost her life after handing it over to a man she once loved, now become her hateful enemy. This young woman freely determines each day how to live dependent on … Continue reading Farewell Damascus

Adonis: Selected Poems

The Human is the Poetry of the Universe “The word in poetry must transcend its essence, it must swell and include more” As befits a poet of his name, the span of Adonis’s work – the parabolas of his vision – carry over great distances, both of space and time, or more accurately they dismantle … Continue reading Adonis: Selected Poems

Arabian Love Poems: Full Arabic and English Texts

  In his obituary to the celebrated Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, published a few days after his death in May 1998, Adel Darwish writes that “for Qabbani, national liberation was meaningless without sexual liberation.” Qabbani, who had spent much of his life as a diplomat and ardent Arab nationalist, also spent much of his life … Continue reading Arabian Love Poems: Full Arabic and English Texts

The Shell

In 2001, following the release of several hundred political prisoners, the Syrian government ordered the closure of its most notorious detention center—Tadmur Military Prison. Located in the desert near the ancient site of Palmyra and originally built by the French Mandate authorities, Tadmur has been described as a "kingdom of death and madness" by Syrian … Continue reading The Shell

Withdrawal

  The fact that global attention has recently been directed exclusively to the experience of the Civil War in Syria that started in 2011 has led to a lack of recognition for contemporary Syrian cultural works that were produced prior to 2011. Today’s review is about one such work by Mohammad al-Attar. Mohammad al-Attar is … Continue reading Withdrawal

The Frightened

photo by Richard Sammour “The experience of living in a country like Syria is very enriching despite its cruelty” Dima Wannous is a Syrian writer currently living in London. For her, writing is both an escape and a way to make sense of life as a Syrian. Dima studied French Literature at Damascus University and … Continue reading The Frightened

“Answer me, Leila”

  This beautiful book is a playful retelling of the fairy tale Rapunzel, but with a twist. Leila and Sami keep missing each other: she sits up in her high tower waiting for him, but no matter how many times he comes and calls for her, she doesn’t answer. He wonders why, until he realizes … Continue reading “Answer me, Leila”

TOMORROW

This is a moving and thought-provoking illustrated story dedicated to Syrian children faced with anxiety and fear during the Syrian civil war. But it’s a powerful tale that will resonate with all readers, particularly those who have never considered what it is like to be a child in a warzone. Yazen hasn’t been to school … Continue reading TOMORROW

THE JASMINE SNEEZE

  Libraries are at the heart of the community and they have the potential to bring people together while also offering individuals life-changing opportunities. One important way that libraries can encourage immigrant and refugee families to visit is to stock a range of picture books for younger readers in bilingual and monolingual editions in a … Continue reading THE JASMINE SNEEZE