Nasr’s poems in Banipal 35 include “What’s left: A poem about empty dishes”; he was asked to write this poem shortly after becoming poet laureate, to mark the exhibiting at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam of the painting “Woman Holding a Balance” by the 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Some of Nasr’s work is overtly political, such as “The subhuman and his habitat” about Palestinians in the West Bank, from where his father originated.All but two of the other writers are of Moroccan origin, complementing the issue's focus on new writing from Morocco (including poets Hassan Najmi and Ouidad Benmoussa, who were prevented by the Home Office from taking part in a Banipal-sponsored UK reading tour). The other two, Rada Sukkar and Rodaan Al-Galidi, are of Iraqi origin, represented by excerpts of their novels (respectively) The Treasure Room of Babylonia and Thirsty River, which will be published this autumn, in Luzette Strauss' translation, by newcomer on the UK translation scene Aflame Books.
To keep up with news from Banipal, you can now join their Facebook group. For Aflame's news, follow their RSS feed.