Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me - Zaqtan, Ghassan; Joudah, Fady - Yale University Press

Literary Studies

Series Information
The Margellos World Republic of Letters

Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me

And Other Poems

  • Ghassan Zaqtan; Translated by Fady Joudah
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Finalist for the 2013 PEN American Center Literary Awards/Translations.

International Winner of the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize sponsored by the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry

Awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation 2014 Fellowship for Creative Arts in the Field of Poetry.

 Read the press release for the Fall 2012 book tour events

In this inspired translation of Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, Ghassan Zaqtan's tenth and most recent poetry collection, along with selected earlier poems, Fady Joudah brings to English-language readers the best work by one of the most important and original Palestinian poets of our time. With these poems Zaqtan enters new terrain, illuminating the vision of what Arabic poetry in general and Palestinian poetry in particular are capable of. Departing from the lush aesthetics of such celebrated predecessors as Mahmoud Darwish and Adonis, Zaqtan's daily, delicate narrative, whirling catalogues, and at times austere aesthetics represent a new trajectory, a significant leap for young Arabic poets today.

In his preface to the volume, Joudah analyzes and explores the poet's body of work. "Ghassan Zaqtan's poems, in their constant unfolding," Joudah writes, "invite us to enter them, exit them, map and unmap them, code and decode them, fill them up and empty them, with the living and nonliving, the animate and inanimate, toward a true freedom."

Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan is the author of ten collections of poetry. He is also a novelist, editor, playwright, and journalist. Fady Joudah is a practicing physician of internal medicine and an award-winning poet and translator. He lives in Houston, TX.