Poetry News

Waking to News About Jerusalem, Returning to Darwish

By Harriet Staff
Mahmoud Darwish

PBS NewsHour features two poems online to complement its latest reporting on the conflict between Israel and Palestine: "Palestine, Texas" by Fady Joudah and "In Jerusalem" by Mahmoud Darwish. (The latter is also translated by Joudah). As NewsHour's Jennifer Hijazi explains, "Fady Joudah memorized poems as a child, reciting stanzas in exchange for coins from his father and uncle. The poems, he would come to recognize, were by Mahmoud Darwish, a literary staple of Palestinian households." From there: 

The work of Darwish — who died in 2008 and is widely considered the preeminent modern Palestinian poet — has found new resonance since President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will move its embassy  to Jerusalem, officially recognizing the contested city as Israel’s capital. Social feeds have lit up with expressions of satisfaction and anger over the U.S. president’s decision. Many have shared Darwish’s “In Jerusalem.”

Born in a village near Galilee, Darwish spent time as an exile throughout the Middle East and Europe for much of his life. He was imprisoned in the 1960s for reading his poetry aloud while traveling from village to village without a permit. Influenced by both Arabic and Hebrew literature, Darwish was exposed to the work of Federico García Lorca and Pablo Neruda through Hebrew translations.

Read on at NewsHour.

Originally Published: December 13th, 2017