Poems from above the Hill

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English
137 Pages
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Etwebi compactly renders experience in a hauntingly classical way. His work is rooted in the landscapes of his country, and in inventing forms in his literary traditions that will capture his engagement with his place and culture. His poetry is intimate but grand, innovative but traditional, influenced by Modernist poetry . . . yet populist and accessible. His phrasing and syntax are often very unpredictable, risk-taking, experimenting with neologisms, inventing language. In his work, there is often a strongly elegiac note; his irony reminds one of Eliot, his imagistic purity reminds one of Pound. Yet he has an intimate knowledge of his fellow creatures that brings to mind William Carlos Williams. Ashur Etwebi enters the mysterious places of the land and sea through the experiences of the human beings he encounters, never engaging in sentimental homage but putting forward a powerful and delicious reverie and a poetic vision.

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Published 22 January 2011
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EAN13 9781602351615
Language English

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POEMS FROM ABOVE THE HILL
SELECTED POEMS OF ASHUR ETWEBI
TRANSLATED BYBRENDA HILLMAN & DIALLAH HAIDAR
Free Verse Edîtîons
Edîted by Jon Tompson
POEMS FROM ABOVE THE HILL
SELECTED POEMS OF ASHUR ETWEBI
Translated by Brenda Hillman and Diallah Haidar (with the author)
Paror Press Anderson, Sout Caroîna www.parorpress.com
Paror Press LLC, West Laayette, ïndîana 47906
© 2011 by Paror Press A rîgts reserved. Prînted în te Unîted States o Amerîca S A N: 2 5 4 - 8 8 7 9
 Lîbrary o Congress Cataogîng-în-Pubîcatîon Data
Tuwaybî, ‘Asur. [Poems. Engîs. Seectîons]  Poems rom above te î : seected poems o Asur Etwebî / transated by Brenda Hîman and Dîaa Haîdar (wît te autor).  p. cm. -- (Free verse edîtîons)  ïSBN 978-1-60235-160-8 (pbk. : ak. paper) -- ïSBN 978-1-60235-161-5 (Adobe ebook) ï. Hîman, Brenda. ïï. Haîdar, Dîaa. ïïï. Tîte. PJ7864.T92A2 2011 892.7’16--dc22  2010054545
Cover design by David Blakesley. Cover ïmage: “he Man Comîng rom te East” © 2009 by Syagcî. Used by permîssîon.
Prînted on acîd-ree paper.
Paror Press, LLC îs an îndependent pubîser o scoary and trade tîtes în prînt and mutîmedîa ormats. hîs book îs avaîabe în paper, cot and Adobe eBook ormats rom Paror Press on te Word Wîde Web at ttp://www.parorpress.com or troug onîne and brîck-and-mortar bookstores. For submîssîon înormatîon or to Ind out about Paror Press pubîcatîons, wrîte to Paror Press, 3015 Brackenberry Drîve, Anderson, Sout Caroîna, 29621, or e-maî edîtor@parorpress.com.
Contents
Transator’s Notevii romQsaed A-Sora[Poems o te Terrace]3 Emotîons5 Wîte Bîrds în a Back Space6 FromAsdikaak Maro Min Huna[Your Frîends Passed hîs Way11 Marco Poo13 romNar A-Mosika[Musîc Rîver]17 Ladders19 Face20 Sîttîng21 Wîte22 Let’s Stop a Wîe23 A Bîrd25 FromSundok ADaikat A-Qadima [Box o od augs]27 Trîpoî Haîku29 Qsaed Mîn AaaAadabaWaZîa A-Ram [Poems rom Above te Hî]39 Sand Sadows98 New Poems111 Wat Dîrectîon113 Fear114 Couds115 he Rock116
v
Contents
he Fînger o te Hand117 A Gîmpse o Fayoum118 Desîre and Oter hîngs119 Knowedge120
Acknowedgments121 About te Autor123 Free Verse Edîtîons125
Translator’s Note
vîî
Tîs project came about quîte by accîdent. ï was servîng as a vîsît-îng acuty member at te ïowa Wrîters’ Worksop în a o 2006 and attended a meetîng at te ïnternatîona Wrîters’ Worksop on a sunny a aternoon. As îs oten te case tere, te room was u o notabe wrîters rom a over te word, many o wom were expressîng înterest în transatîon. Toug ï do not speak Arabîc, ï ad worked wît Saadî Sîmawe, an ïraqî-Amerîcan pro-essor at Grînne Coege, to render some versîons o ïraqî poetry înto Engîs, and ï mentîoned tîs at te meetîng. Aterwards, an entusîastîc eow bounded over to me and asked î ï woud work wît îm on îs poetry. He was, e saîd, Dr. Asur Etwebî rom Lîbya, a pysîcîan-poet wo was spendîng a ew monts at te ïnternatîona Wrîters’ Worksop. ï însîsted to te genteman tat ï speak not a word o Arabîc and e saîd we must not et tat deter us. Durîng te next two monts, we met requenty at Java House, one o ïowa Cîty’s most agreeabe ocaes, to work on îs poetry. ït turned out tat îs Engîs îs exceent — e ad spent our years în London— and e brougt me transîteratîons o a ong poetîc sequence e ad wrîtten and pubîsed în Lîbya some years beore, work tat we ended up caîng “Poems rom Above te Hî.”ï was entîrey dependent on Asur’s transîteratîons, o course, but we went orward because we enjoyed te process. Asur îs a courteous and wîtty man, and e approaced te dauntîng task wît good ceer. As we worked on our versîons, Asur noted tat e was re-castîng te orîgînas at tîmes wen we coud not înd an approprîate transatîon. Tîs eped us reax about te project, especîay about strîvîng or îdeîty to a sîn-ge orîgîna text. Beore e returned to Lîbya, we ad produced poems tat sounded good to bot o us, and tat— despîte sîg-nîîcant varîatîons between te Arabîc orîgînas and te Engîs
vîîî
Transator’s Note
transatîons—and tey seemed to satîsy Asur’s sense o te o te orîgînas. Over te next ew years we kept în touc, pubîsîng te se-quence înFree Verse.Bob Hass, Forrest Gander, CD Wrîgt and ï made a trîp to Lîbya, were Asur was our ost or one o te most ascînatîng weeks o our îves—tat îs a story or anoter tîme.Soon ater our trîp, Jon Tompson, wo îs bot an edîtor oFree Verseand an edîtor at Paror Press, asked to see a arger coectîon o Asur’s work and we set about tryîng to îgure out ow tîs coud be done. ïn te meantîme, one o Bob’s students, Dîaa Haîdar, a Lebanese-Amerîcan woman wo îs uent în bot Arabîc and Engîs, ad aen în ove wît Asur’s poetry and ad done some wonderu transatîons, so ï enîsted er ep wît te proj-ect. Workîng wît Dîaa as been a peasure, and te project coud not ave gone more smooty. ï am aso grateu or te or-ganîzîng skîs o Jîîan Kurvers, wo as been very epu wît preparatîon o te manuscrîpt. ï wî probaby never know Asur’s poetry în te orîgîna. ï am tremendousy moved by îs work, by te way e compacty renders experîence în a auntîngy cassîca way. Asur’s work îs rooted în te andscapes o îs country, and în înventîng orms în îs îterary tradîtîons tat wî capture îs engagement wît îs pace and cuture. Hîs poetry îs întîmate but grand, înnovatîve but tradîtîona, înuenced by Modernîst poetry, wîc e seems to ave read wîe e was studyîng în Engand, yet popuîst and accessîbe, at east în te versîons e and Dîaa ave presented to me. Dîa-a as tod me repeatedy tat te prasîng and syntax are oten very unpredîctabe, rîsk-takîng, experîmentîng wît neoogîsms, înventîng anguage— so e woud be consîdered an experîmen-ta or înnovatîve poet. ïn îs work, tere îs oten a strongy ee-gîac note; îs îrony tat remînds one o Eîot, îs îmagîstîc purîty tat remînds one o Pound. Yet e as an întîmate knowedge o îs eow creatures tat brîngs to mînd W. C.Wîîams. ï am remînded o severa oter poets as we: o George Oppen, and
Transator’s Note
îx
o C. P. Cavay. Asur Etwebî enters te mysterîous paces o te and and sea troug te experîences o te uman beîngs e encounters, never engagîng în sentîmenta omage but put-tîng orward a poweru and deîcîous reverîe and a poetîc vîsîon. However partîa tese versîons are, ît îs to be oped tey wî ren-der some sense o te orîgînas.
—Brenda Himan