A short, challenging piece by Youssef Rakha, the Arabic original of which is due to be published in Egyptian weekly أخبار الأدب (Akhbar Al Adab). I’ll link to it when it does.
New poems by Malaka Badr, who has previously published one collection, the excellent دون خسائر فادحة (Merit, 2012) [Without Heavy Losses], bits of which appeared in English in Maged Zaher’s selection of seven Egyptian poets’ works, The Tahrir of Poems (Alice Blue Books, 2014). The poems below are from an as yet unpublished collection. One of these poems, in Arabic, and not translated here, can be found here.
A selection of poems on motherhood and love from Rana Al Tonsi’s beautiful collection كتاب الألعاب (Dar Al Sharqiyat, 2015) [The Book of Games]. This is Rana’s eighth collection, a list of which appear at the end of this article. Her first was published in 2001, and a selection from her earlier works were collected together in عندما لا أكون في الهواء (Manshourat Al Jamal, 2014) [When I’m Not in the Air]. Sinan Antoon’s translations of poems from her 2003 collection وردة للأيام الأخيرة (Merit) [A Rose for the Last Days] appeared in Banipal, here.
Two stories about sleep from Mohamed Kheir’s brilliant short story collection رمش العين (Kotob Khan, 2014) [Eyelash]. Kheir is perhaps best known as a poet, with three poetry collections published by Merit ليل خارجي (Outer Night, 2002), بارانويا (Paranoia, 2008) and هدايا الوحدة (The Gifts of Loneliness, 2010), with a fourth, excellent collection released this year by Kotob Khan, العادات السيئة للماضي (The Bad Habits of the Past), which Muhamed Abdel Nabi has written about here. This is Mohamed’s second short story collection after عفاريت الراديو (Dar Malamih, 2008) [Radio Devils]. He has written one novel to date, the very fine سماء أقرب [Merit, 2013] (A Closer Sky). Abdel Nabi has also written about Eyelash, here, and Daily News Egypt recently published an interview with Kheir in English, which can be found here.
Depending on how you’re counting, seven or ten poems by Ibrahim Elsayed and Hermes, from their respective collections أحد عشر كلبا (Merit, 2014) [Eleven Dogs] and كلاشنكوفي الحبيب (Dar Al Sharqiyat, 2014) [My Darling Kalashnikov]. Poems from both these collections and others by these poets appear in The Tahrir of Poems: Seven Contemporary Egyptian Poets edited and translated by Maged Zaher, and much more about Maged’s book, Ibrahim, Hermes and others can be found here.
Another extract from Youssef Rakha’s باولو [Paulo], recently acquired by Dar Al-Saqi, the second novel in a planned trilogy and the sequel to التماسيح (Dar Al-Saqi, 2012) [The Crocodiles]. The novel takes the form of fifty nine sequential blog entries numbered in reverse (i.e. starting with 59 and ending on 1), authored by the eponymous Paulo, one of the central characters from The Crocodiles, now an ex-poet, a figure on the independent cultural scene, a revolutionary and a covert operative for the shadowy Wadie Bey, who narrates his adventures in revolutionary and post-revolutionary Egypt. This extract finds Paulo addressing his much-abused cat, Atrees.
The terms naqib, usra and shu’ba are jargon from the Muslim Brotherhood’s internal organization. A naqib is the head or “captain” of an usra (family), a cell of maybe five or six Brothers, which itself belongs to a larger shu’ba, or “branch”.