This issue offers only a glimpse into Palestinian poets and poetry, given that these few pages simply cannot do justice to this vast subject. Even our decision to limit our features to living poets did not solve the dilemma, and the mere three or four pages that we devote to each poet does not come close to presenting the richness of their work.
Poetry is deeply embedded in Palestinian cultural identity. For many centuries, poets have been an integral part of daily life and of social celebrations in Palestine, often improvising and spontaneously performing their poems at baptisms, weddings, or funerals, at the completion of the construction of homes and public buildings, or at celebrations of the harvest season and national holidays.
Where else would thousands of people gather on a quiet hilltop to pay their last respects to a poet who gave voice to the struggle and dreams of his people? (The Telegraph, August 13, 2008) Where else do poets like Tamim Al-Barghouti draw the attention of millions? (His reading of the poem “In Jerusalem” has close to three million views on YouTube.) Let this issue entice you to look for more examples of the significant role that poetry plays in Palestinian life.
Our sincere thanks go to our authors and to the poets who graciously helped us gather the presented material. Our sincere apologies go to the many more we have not featured or even mentioned.
Here is one of my favorite poems by a poet who is unfortunately not included in this issue. It’s just a small taste of what you are missing.
wouldn’t hurt a spider
That had nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
Until it left of its own accord
If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
And you’d get to go biking
She said that’s how others
Become refugees isn’t it?
From all of us at TWiP, we wish you a good start to spring and a Happy International Women’s Day, with the wish for a better year ahead for our sisters throughout the world.
Warmly, Tina Basem.