The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

82° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Poets offer message of peace on Israeli-Arab conflict

    Taha Muhammed Ali, a Palestinian poet, will read his poetry in Arabic tonight at the UA Poetry Center. The poetry will be translated into English by Peter Cole, who will read after Ali.
    Taha Muhammed Ali, a Palestinian poet, will read his poetry in Arabic tonight at the UA Poetry Center. The poetry will be translated into English by Peter Cole, who will read after Ali.

    Tonight the UA Poetry Center promises to host an eye-opening experience.

    Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali is the author of four books of poetry in Arabic, most recently “”So What: New and Selected Poems, 1971-2005.”” This book of poetry was translated by Peter Cole, an award-winning translator and published poet.

    The reading is unique in that Ali will read a selected poem in Arabic followed by Cole’s translation of the poem in English.

    “”Cole and Muhammad Ali have very different histories and cultural identities, but they share many of the same concerns – in literature and in life,”” wrote Frances Sjober, literary director at the Poetry Center, in an e-mail.

    Cole edited the anthology, “”The Dream of the Poem,”” which surveyed over 400 poems by 54 poets tracing the arc of the Hebrew Golden Age. Cole co-edits Ibis Editions in Jerusalem, where he currently lives.

    “”The reading will provide an occasion to get acquainted with Arab poetry as it is translated by an Israeli-American poet,”” wrote Annie Guthrie, assistant marketing specialist at the Poetry Center, in an e-mail.

    Born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya, Ali draws inspiration for his work from his everyday experiences as a child while living through the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. One of his most vivid memories involves his forced flee to Lebanon with fellow villagers. By slipping across the border a year later, he found that his village had been destroyed. Ali moved to Nazareth, where he currently lives. His lucid and stunning images capture Ali’s imaginative work.

    “”The general public will find Muhammad Ali’s poems accessible, thought-provoking, and life-affirming,”” wrote Guthrie in an e-mail.

    As well, this reading provides the audience with a message of peace and the human experience by bringing together people who are politically opposed to one another.

    “”Poetry can complicate social perspectives and political rhetoric; when that happens, it tends to simplify our understanding of human nature and relationships,”” wrote Sjober in an e-mail.

    The reading takes place tonight at 8 at the UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St. The event is free and open to the public.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search