Presentation of a new anthology edited by poet and translator André Naffis-Sahely, offering a uniquely varied look at a theme both ancient and urgently contemporary. Reception to follow.
André Naffis-Sahely, Jenny Xie (NYU, Graywolf poet), Aaron Robertson (Lit Hub Editor and translator of Ethiopian memoirist Martha Nasibù) and Jonathan Galassi (poet and translator, Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Sinan Antoon (poet, translator) and Jee Leong Koh (poet).
The Heart of a Stranger charts the history of our world’s civilizations through the prism of exile, taking the reader from Ancient Egypt to the present day through three hundred pages of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The anthology spans six continents and twenty-four languages and is divided into six sections, which have been arranged thematically and chronologically.
Highlights include the wisdom of the 5th century Desert Fathers and Mothers, the Siculo-Arabic poetry of Ibn Hamdis, Moses ibn Ezra, an excerpt from Dante’s Paradise, the Byzantine poet Michael Marullus, the Swahili Song of Liyongo, The Flight of the Irish Earls, Madame de Staël’s reflections after leaving Napoleon’s Paris, Emma Goldman’s travails in the wake of the First Red Scare, and the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani’s ode to the lost world of Andalusia, concluding with a selection of work by more contemporary exiles, like the Uyghur poet Ahmetjan Osman, the Moroccan writer Abdellatif Laâbi, our old friend Alessandro Spina, and the Italo-Eritrean fabulist Ribka Sibhatu.
Languages include: Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Irish Gaelic, Kurdish, Latin, Old English, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tamazight, Turkish, Uyghur, Vietnamese and Yiddish. There are 90 contributions, with 60 translations.
Image: Maria Lai, Suite, 1978 ca.