Nouri al-Jarrah  [ Syria ]


Portrait al-Jarrah
Copyright al-Jarrah / C. Banipal

Guest 2017.


The Boy

Beirut, 1982

Aligning with the Voice

London, 1988

Ode to a Voice

Köln, 1990

Death’s Childhood

Casablanca, 1992

A Black Glass

London, 1993

Poem and Poem in the Mirror

Beirut, 1995

The Ascent of April

Beirut, 1996

Hamlet’s Gardens

Beirut, 2003

The Road to Damascus and The Persian Garden

Beirut, 2004

The Day of Cain

Haifa/Beirut, 2013

Noah’s Despair

Beirut, 2014

Abel’s Elegies

Beirut, 2015

Four Elegies

Istanbul, 2016

A Boat to Lesbos

Dar al-Mutawassit

Mailand, 2016

Une Barque pour Lesbos

Les Edition Moires

Paris, 2016

Nouri al-Jarrah was born in 1956 in Damascus. He moved to Beirut in 1981, then to Cyprus in 1986 and finally to London. He is one of the most influential contemporary poets of the Arabic speaking world. He achieved fame with his first volume of poetry, »The Boy« (1982). Since then, 14 further publications have followed from publishing houses in Beirut, Cairo, Algeria, Haifa, Nicosia and Istanbul, many of which have been awarded prizes in various parts of the Arab world and been translated into a range of Asian and European languages. Nouri al-Jarrah’s poems present his vision of poetry and life, to which he has lent a unique voice over the years. His verse leans on a variety of cultural sources, with a particular manner of focusing on mythology, folktales and legends while reflecting on metaphysical considerations and deep, existential questions. One of his most recent poems, »A Boat to Lesbos«, found exceptional acclaim. It is a requiem to the huge exodus from Syria. With references to the teachings of the poet Ibn Arabi and drawing on the legacy of mythology in the Mediterranean, al-Jarrah’s piece centers on the experiences of the refugees on those doomed boats to Lesbos. Sections of the poem were translated into English and published in the magazine »Banipal«, among others. Al-Jarrah has founded several literary magazines, including » Al-Naqid« (1988–1992; tr. The critic), »Al-Katiba« (1993–1995; tr. The authoress), »Al-Rihla« (from 1995; tr. The journey) and » Al-Jadeed« (from 2015; tr. The new one). Due to the restrictions on freedom of the press in Arab countries, they continue to be published in London, but have still had a great deal of influence on Arabic literature. His opinion pieces and editorials in these and other Arabic magazines and newspapers have made for lively debate among prominent Arabic writers on the topic of new approaches in poetry and prose.

Al-Jarrah is head of the Center for Arabic Geographical Literature-Exploration Prospects based in Abu Dhabi and London. The center publishes historically significant Arabic travel literature, such as a journal belonging to the Arabic scholar Taufik al Idl, who traveled to Germany at the end of the 19th century. Nouri al-Jarrah lives in London.

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