Today's poem is "At the Columbus Zoo with Goethe in Pocket"
from Zodiac of Echoes

Ausable Press

Khaled Mattawa is the author of Ismailia Eclipse (poems), and the translator of three volumes of contemporary Arabic poetry. He has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA translation grant. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize Anthology, and numerous magazines.

About Zodiac of Echoes:

"'Lord of basil and wild sage, / apples and diesel fumes, /and whatever splits the soul like a pod,' chants the poet in this richly synthetic and imaginative book. Khaled Mattawa's new five-part collection is about a life split between 'apples and diesel fumes,' between North Africa and the American South, between Arabic verse and Euro-American modernism. Mattawa has found an evocative language and a multifaceted form to embody contemporary cross-cultural experience. Kaleidescopic in structure and movement, daringly personal yet intensely political, his verse encompasses narrative, satire, meditation, and high-spirited hilarity. One moment, we're stuck on a highway on the way to the history-glutted Mississippi River. The next, questions of exile, identity, and linguistic alienation spiral in a poem set in a jaunty Cairo taxi ride. Line by line we turn from zany wisecracks about globalization to solemn invocations of the moon, from intensely felt lyricism to splintered, televisual, attention-fractured deferrals of feeling. Mattawa's images deliver strong sensations, his humor moves briskly, his phrases take startling turns, and his cadences roll and return and build momentum. These dazzling lyrics and swquences create one of the most compelling portraits we have of a mind, a sensibility, a language emerging from the hybridization of cultures."
—Jahan Ramazani

"Zodiac of Echoes: part divination of celestial bodies, part reading between the lying lines of cold type. Khaled Mattawa descries the transmogrification of cultures in an audacious effort to locate 'where the blessing lies.' He follows the world's scent. He puts it down in sand and stardust. He renders what is 'mortal and resonant."
—C.D. Wright

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