A Blade of Grass: New Palestinian Poetry


Thursday, 16th November 2017, 18:30 - 20:30


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 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 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 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. [ARTIST/INDEPENDENT]

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. His poetry collection The War on Idigna appeared in 2011. [ARTIST/UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER]

Farid S. Bitar is a Palestinian-American poet, born in Jerusalem 1961. Also the editor of the anthology Treasury of Arabic Love (2009), his own collections include Footprints in the Mist - A Palestinian Soul and two CDs FATOOSH and SHUTAT. Fuzzy Lines - 67/48, a collection of 48 poems and 67 paintings, is forthcoming in 2018. [ARTIST/INDEPENDENT]

Naomi Foyle is an award-winning poet, novelist, verse dramatist, and essayist based in Brighton. 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). [MODERATOR/UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER]

Katharine Halls is a freelance translator who specialises in theatre and film. She studied Hebrew and Arabic and holds an MA in Arabic-English translation and interpreting. Her co-translation, with Adam Talib, of Raja Alem’s The Dove’s Necklace, winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, appeared in 2016. [ARTIST/INDEPENDENT]


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