For International Women’s Day: 5 Poets You Should Know in English Translation

She has two published poetry collections   and also won an Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) grant for the organization’s novel-writing program, which resulted in her first novel,   Bait Alqashlah, by Arabic Scientific Publishing in 2016. Poetry is all that I do not have, but somehow I own.” (Assafir newspaper, 14/11/2014, p. Rasha Omran (1964- ) is a well-known Syrian poet and an intellectual. She is an activist who has spoken up   for the civilians in Syria and against the regime, and she had to flee her hometown of Damascus for   Cairo in 2012. This   collection of short poems, found in Banipal   and   Words Without Borders, will allow   you to enjoy a different angle on Arabic literature. On poetry, she writes “It is my only wing that flutters, my dry voice. The list of five below combines female Arabic poets from different places and generations, although they are all writing now. The marginalization of both, it seems, comes down to assumed expectations of what the general reader wants to read. For International Women’s Day, ArabLit contributor   Norah Alkharashi has put together a list of Arabophone women poets who may be acclaimed in Arabic, but are little-known in English:
By Norah Alkharashi
Poetry by Fadwa Touqan, art from Watan, available at She published eight poetry books between 2005 and   2015, and her works are widely acclaimed in the Arab world. 10, [my translation])
Nujoom al-Ghanem, “A Night Heavy on the Night – Two Poems”  
These poems were translated by Khaled al-Masri and published in   Banipal   in 2011. Loss is what makes up the chemistry of poetry.” (Alarab newspaper, 20/01/2015, issue: 9803, my translation). Soukaina Babiballah, “Anatomy of the Rose“
This poem, translated by   Kareem James Abu-Zaid, was published in   Words Without Borders   in   March 2016. Poetry as a genre remains widely invisible in translation, even moreso   if it is from a less-translated language like Arabic and from the muted voices of   women. Rana al-Tonsi, “A Rose for the Last Days“
This poem, translated by Sinan Antoon, was published in   Spring 2006, also in   Banipal. Norah Alkharashi is a   Ph.D. But the good news is, with the impact of computer technologies, a number of   poems are published online. What unifies them is that they are promising and acclaimed poets, yet surprisingly little-known in English. Soukaina Babiballah (1989- ) is a young, promising poet and novelist from Casablanca, Morocco. Her themes open a dialogue with Sufism, spirituality, postmodernism, and philosophy. Her   style is descried as both intimate and rebellious —   she has a special, intimate relationship with the Arabic language and she rebels against the traditions and expectations of previous collective generations. She has published two poetry collections, and also produces translations from English literature including James Joyce and Charles Bukowski. Reem Ghanayem (1982- ) was born, and still lives, in the he village of Western Baqa inside the Green Line in Palestine. She published six poetry collections between 1989 and   2008, and she also directed nine movies and short films. Rasha says that poetry “does not reveal itself to you with happiness or gain. Nujoom al-Ghanem (1962- ) is a full-time poet from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Rana al-Tonsi (1981- ) was born in Cairo and currently lives Doha, Qatar. Poetry always springs from the darkest areas in our subconscious, which lives on the anticipation of loss. Her poetry is an individual experience that speaks of her times and generation. She published five poetry books between 1980 and   2014   and is also the author of An   Anthology of Syrian Poetry, 1980 – 2008. She describes her writing style: “I made a decision and I stopped imitating rhythmic or structured verses, and I became faithful to only to free-verse poems.” (Ana Zahra magazine, 24/09/2010, [my translation])
Reem Ghanayem, “Mag, fi Sirat al-Manafi – Selected poems“
These   poems, published in   Banipal   in   2012, were self-translated. The publication of English translations of women’s   Arabic poetry in book form, accordingly, is   close to nothing compared to what is really produced in Arabic. Like poetry, Arabic literature lives at the margins of   the Anglophone book market and literary scene. Advertisements

Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLinkedInRedditGoogleTumblrPinterestPocketLike this:Like Loading…‹ Announcing the Debut of ‘Warwick Prize for Women in Translation’Categories: women Twitter: @norahmodi. Due to her conservative upbringing, she had to wait   several years before pushing through. When al-Ghanem   started writing poetry, female poets were not expected to publish using their names in the newspapers. Rasha Omran, “When Longing Tormented Me”  
This poem, translated by Camilo Gomez-Rivas, was published in   Spring 2005 in   Banipal. Candidate in Translation Studies and a translator.