Noor and I were interested in translating this particular book of poems for a few reasons. The first, of course, is that we genuinely admire the poems and feel they have important things to say about love, and relationships, and the hard work of being human. We were also interested in what these poems from this young poet could contribute to the portrait being offered to the world of Arabs in general, and of Arab women in particular. We were looking for poems that went beyond the political to the personal, poems that allow a reader to see a whole, complex person rather than a sort of paper doll.
Shatha Abu Hnaish (poet) was born in 1987 in Nablus, Palestine and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Al-Najah National Universtiy. She has written poetry since childhood, and her work has been widely published in journals throughout the Arab World.
Francesca Bell (co-translator) poems appear in many journals, including B O D Y, New Ohio Review, North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Spillway, Tar River Poetry and Zone 3. Her work has been nominated eight times for the Pushcart Prize, and she won the 2014 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle. Her translations appear in Berkeley Poetry Review, Circumference | Poetry in Translation, The Global Journal of Literary Studies, and Laghoo. She is the Marin Poetry Center’s Events Coordinator and the Poetry Editor of River Styx.
Noor Nader Al Abed (co-translator) is Jordanian. He teaches English to 11th and 12th grade boys at a secondary school outside Amman. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Zarqa Private University and his master’s degree in English Literature from Arab Open University. His translations appear in Berkeley Poetry Review, Circumference | Poetry in Translation, The Global Journal of Literary Studies, and Laghoo.
This lonely wooden bench
is a branch
from a tree