Friday Finds: Celebrating Iman Mersal

It promises to bring together work from across her four collections, including her most recent,   Until I Give Up the Idea of Houses. You can get a glimpse of it at the Bulaq podcast (“Love and Silence: Rediscovering Enayat al-Zayyat”); it also recently appeared in Richard Jacquemond’s French translation. Eight of her poems appear in Words Without Borders, in Mattawa’s translation:

Happiness

Amina

Things Elude Me

I Look Around Me

Sometimes Wisdom Possesses Me

He Marks the Weak Point

In Perfect Happiness

I Have A Musical Name

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Her “How to Find Your Mother In Her Portrait,” translated by Robin Moger, appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the   Michigan Quarterly Review, excerpted from her How to Mend: Motherhood and Its Ghosts, translated by Moger. Friday Finds: Celebrating Iman Mersal

Yesterday, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award announced that Iman Mersal had won the 2021 literature award for her brilliant literary nonfiction, In the Footsteps of Enayat al-Zayyat:

The work has not yet appeared in English translation. *

An earlier collection of Mersal’s work appeared in Khaled Mattawa’s translation in 2008, in These Are Not Oranges, My Love. *

Finally, you can watch Iman read her poem   “It Seems I Inherit the Dead“   in her Edmonton home, and see her roll her eyes at the very end. Five of Mersal’s poems appeared in Creswell’s translation in a recent issue of   The   Arkansas International:

—Some things escaped me—Respect for Marx—It seems I inherit the dead—Black Fingers—Map Store

Other translations by Creswell, available online, include “I Dreamt of You,” “Evil,” “The Idea of Houses,” “Raising a Glass With an Arab Nationalist,” “The Window” and “A Celebration.” Mersal’s poetry also appears in the new collection Home: New Arabic Poems. It’s currently   scheduled for Winter 2022. But there’s also much more of Mersal’s work to explore online. The excerpt   is available online; it opens: “When my mother died in the mid-seventies, her only extant portrait took on a greater significance.”

Other translations by Moger include Mersal’s essay “One of us comes out from the other,” on the poet Saniya Salih. *

Iman Mersal

She has a poetry collection forthcoming in English translation, currently titled   The Threshold   after one of Mersal’s signature poems.