Nazik al-Mala'ika's Revolt Against the Sun


Manage episode 284492920 series 1011677
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| Nazik al-Mala'ika (1923-2007) is one of the foremost figures in twentieth-century Arabic poetry. Born in Baghdad, she wrote about varied topics, ranging from the 1947 cholera epidemic in Egypt to the rise of communism in Iraq to a nighttime train ride. She pioneered what became known as "free verse," a form at once innovative but also based upon older metrical structures. Emily Drumsta has recently translated a collection of al-Mala'ika's poetry into English under the title of Revolt against the Sun, with Saqi Books. In this episode, we discuss how al-Mala'ika's Arab nationalist politics informed her metrical innovation, and how she played with gendered expectations in her poetry. We also talk about some of the challenges of preserving rhythm and sound in translation.
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