International Poetry Review

The Arab Spring, Volume 47, 2024

Edited by Ana Hontanilla, Suja Sawafta

Guest edited by Suja Sawafta

International Poetry Review

238 pp., 5.5 x 8.25

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7734-7
    Published: May 2024

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Distributed for the UNC Greensboro Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

This issue centers on the role of poetry as a form of protest in Middle Eastern and North African traditions. It opens with the Tunisian poet Abul Qassem Al-Shabbi’s “The Will of Life,” which became the official anthem of Tunisian protestors during the Tunisian Revolution. Two verses from this poem speak to this volume: “If one day people will to live / then fate has no choice but to comply.” We feature canonical Mashreqi voices, such as Palestine’s Ibrahim Touqan, Syria’s Adonis, and Iraq’s Nazik Al-Mala’ika, along with emerging poets who write in Arabic. From the Maghreb, poets such as Ahmed Bouanani, Hocine Tandjaoui, and Tahar Bekri expressed their revolutionary desires and reflections in French. Emerging artists are featured in the Arabic and French sections, but the reader will find that the English section also highlights and centers on the revolutionary angst of the youth. The Editor has taken several creative liberties for inclusion and representation; artists may reside in the Arab world or the diaspora, but all the works are politically inclined regardless of the magnetizing pulls of their linguistic registers, geographic locales, or cultural influences. The number of artists across generations, languages, and revolutionary movements in the last two centuries reminds us that there is great beauty in times of tragedy.

At the time of the publication of issue number 47.2024, conflict had broken out between Israel and Palestine. We at the International Poetry Review believe literature is a tool for hope and a source of healing. This issue offered a unique platform for our contributors to humanize resistance while standing in favor of bread, freedom, and justice. Poets wrote about violence’s devastating consequences, exposing its causes, and promoting peace, tolerance, and respect. This issue provided a safe space for reflection and transformation.