Today's poem is "How Long This Day of Mine"
from Lighthouse for the Drowning

BOA Editions

Jawdat Fakhreddine was born in 1953 in a small village in southern Lebanon. A professor of Arabic literature at the Lebanese University in Beirut, he is one of the major Lebanese names in Modern Arabic Poetry, and is considered one of the second generation poets of the modernist movement in the Arab world. He earned an MA in Physics and taught at the high school level for more than 10 years. During this time he published a number of poetry collections and was encouraged by Adonis to work on a PhD in Arabic literature. Fakhreddine intermittently publishes articles and new poems in al-Hayat newspaper, which is an Arab newspaper published in London and distributed worldwide, and in as-Safir, one of the two major Lebanese Newspapers. He writes a weekly article in al-Khaleej newspaper, a widely distributed gulf daily newspaper. Lighthouse for the Drowning is his first US publication of a full-length collection of poetry. He currently lives in Beirut, Lebanon.

Books by Jawdat Fakhreddine:

Other poems on the web by Jawdat Fakhreddine:
"Autumn's Leaves"
"How Long This Day of Mine"

About Lighthouse for the Drowning:

"'Words . . . are the lost homeland,' Jawdat Fakhreddine claims in his ruthlessly self-scrutinizing Lighthouse for the Drowning. Like Paul Celan and Taduesz Rozewicz, words are not the way back to what's been lost, but rather they comprise the very 'rubble and remains' of their losses. They carry as well the echoes of the 'guiding voices' that 'have died.' Fakhreddine's dilemma, like Celan's and Rozewicz's, is to know what feelings and perceptions to trust. As a result, out of his lost Lebanon, out of his disillusionment in politics, he finds a spirit in poetry 'that flows from deep and rises effortlessly / to flicker like the passing sky.' If this sounds evanescent, it's not because the constant pressure of his lost homeland and of words seek to countermand any hope of finding a way out of history's dark and confusing labyrinth. Written twenty years ago, Lighthouse for the Drowning is a clear and concise description of the present."
—Michael Collier

"Lighthouse for the Drowning brings to the attention of an Anglophone readership a complete poetry collection (published for the first time in Arabic in 1996) by the prominent Lebanese poet and critic, Jawdat Fakhreddine. In the detailed Introduction to the translated collection (the first translator being the poet's own daughter), the collection is deftly situated within a context that lies between the tradition of pre-modern Arabic poetry and the quest for modernity, the combination of these two sources of inspiration being a pertinent aspect of the poet's own muse. The language and sound of the original verse is described as being 'simple and intimate,' but a reading of the collection, whether in its original Arabic or in this accomplished translation, makes it abundantly clear that those qualities are an intrinsic part of the poet's aspiration to forge his own path within the variegated contexts of modern Arabic poetic creativity. The challenges inherent in the process of translation, translating poetry in general and this particular collection in particular, are also discussed—the preparation of an original 'literal' version by the native-speaker of Arabic, the process of 'carrying across' the ideas and images of that version into another cultural context, and the difficult task of reconciling the two. The resulting English version of the collection is a clear token of such a successful collaborative process."
—Roger Allen

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