Working through War: Women Tell Their Stories through the Arts

Lynne Rogers
Women’s War Stories: The Lebanese Civil War, Women’s Labor, and the Creative Arts
Edited by Michelle Hartman and Malek Abisaab
Syracuse University Press, 2022
In “Women’s War Stories: The Lebanese Civil War, Women’s Labor, and the Creative Arts,” editors Michelle Hartman and Malek Abisaab curated six essays that begin to address the lack of scholarship on the role o

Escaping the Israeli Nightmare

Pamela Nice

“At the time of this review, Israeli bombs are raining down on the civilians of Gaza, and the wounded and starving are dying by the thousands. It is more important than ever for us to know those people we have pretended don’t exist: the Palestinians. As horrendous as the Hamas attack was, Israel’s narrative attempts to “de-contextualize and de-historicize” it, as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has said, and to label October 7 as Israel’s 9/11 is yet another attempt to erase the Occupation. Focusing on the West Bank, Ramsey Hanhan’s “Fugitive Dreams” reminds us that the Occupation is as real as the Palestinians who have suffered under it.  

The Secret History: Reframing Arab American Origin Stories Through a Queer Lens

Angele Ellis
Possible Histories: Arab Americans and the Queer Ecology of Peddling
By Charlotte Karem Albrecht
University of California Press, 2023
Charlotte Karem Albrecht begins her groundbreaking study with an Arab American family origin story that departs from the heteronormative narrative of intrepid immigrant peddlers achieving success and assimilating into white American s

‘details stolen from the heavens’: Rich Anthology of Love Poems Spotlights New Generation of Anglophone Arab Writers

Angele Ellis

We Call to the Eye & the Night: Love Poems by Writers of Arab Heritage
Edited by Hala Alyan and Zeina Hashem Beck
Persea Books, 2023
Reading the two hundred poems in “We Call to the Eye & the Night” — an anthology that contains the work of 85 contemporary Anglophone poets of Arab heritage — gives the reader the sensation of gazing into a brilliant night sky, one that is both familiar and strange. Venus, whose association with the goddess of love animates this book, shines more brightly than usual, as sharply visible as the crescent moon. Some of the stars are familiar — such as Fady Joudah, Naomi Shihab Nye, Philip Metres, Mohja Kahf, Hayan Charara, Nathalie Handal, Glenn Shaheen, Hedy Habra, Lisa Suhair Majaj — while others have risen to join them in new constellations. Forty of the poets represented here were born in 1990 or afterward, including George Abraham (recently named editor of Mizna Journal), Leila Chatti (who teaches at Smith College), Mohammed El-Kurd (Palestine correspondent for The Nation), Noor Naga (who teaches at the American University in Cairo), Fargo Nissim Tbakhi (who teaches at Towson University), Jess Rizkallah (an author and illustrator), and Nadim Choufi (also a videographer and sculptor, as well as co-Programs Director at Beirut Art Center).

New Book Examines ‘Solidarity Tourism’ in Palestine as the ‘Voice of the People’

Lynne Rogers
Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism across Occupied Palestine
By Jennifer Lynn Kelly
Duke University Press, 2023
In her book “Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tours across Occupied Palestine,” Jennifer Lynn Kelly explores an aspect of the recent phenomena of trauma/tragedy travel by focusing on the solidarity tours in Occupied Palestine.

To a Woman He Never Met: What Gibran’s Love Letters to May Ziadeh Reveal About the Inner Life of the ‘Prophet’s’ Author

Lynne Rogers

For the ordinary reader, “Love Letters” is a short yet savorable book, with letters you can thumb through when drawn to thoughtful musings or aspirations to better oneself. For those interested in Gibran as either a literary giant or an artist, this collection of letters provides a nuanced narrative of his deep spiritual yearnings, dedication to his work, extended gentleness, and benevolent humor. This touching correspondence between these two seminal intellectuals weaves together their mundane concerns, from Ziadeh’s change of hairstyle to intimate emotional and spiritual revelations, as well as Gibran’s aesthetic reflections, adding an empathic human depth to further appreciate both his art and life as an artist.

Haidar Haidar’s ‘Banquet for Seaweed’ Attempts a Balancing Act

Mahmoud Saeed

An Iraqi proverb says, “Two pomegranates do not fit in one hand”; they cannot be carried simultaneously. This proverb applies to various issues, including the art of novel writing, especially when attempting to combine politics and art. Few novels integrate these two elements, and Haidar Haidar’s “Walima Li Aashaab Al Bahr” (Banquet for Seaweed) makes another attempt. Does it succeed?


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