Monday, August 11, 2008

"I speak in the voice of the absentee" 

Since his death yesterday, Mahmoud Darwish has been referred to through the news wires as the "poet of resistance." While it's true that he was the poetic voice of the people the West tries to forget, he was so much more. While many writers of his fame and literary stature settle into the comfort of celebrity, his poetry continued to evolve until the end of his life.

The Darwish work that touched me most is Memory for Forgetfulness. The prose poem/memoir of a single day during the Beirut bombing of 1982 negotiates the tension of recurring dreams and the brutal reality of modern warfare. "And between here and there they stretched their bodies like a vibrating bow until death celebrated itself through them."

Today's Democracy Now features an extensive interview with two of Darwish's translators, including Fady Joudah, who works in the Houston hospital where the poet died. Check it out here.

- Frank Sherlock

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