Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poetry. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Arabology Interviews Arab American Poet/Stanford Student Maya Salameh

Listen to the interview at

Recorded in February 2019 at KZSU 90.1 FM (Stanford University)

Stanford Lecturer + Arabology radio host Dr. Ramzi Salti interviews Arab American poet Maya Salameh, a full time student at Stanford, who recites her poem "My Other Mouth," forthcoming in The Greensboro Review.

Listen to the interview below or at

Read the poem below ©Maya Salameh ©The Greensboro Review

my other mouth //

if you ask me if I am fluent in Arabic / I will speak

of mispronunciation / I will tell you of the vast spaces / between

letters / I will tell you / my Arabic is words / wracked with labor

pains / village / in the pads of your feet / the roots of verbs / I conjugate

the hooked nose / the unruly hair / the holy in me /

if you ask me if I am fluent in Arabic / I will tell you / my Arabic / wonders how torture tastes on the tongue / I will tell you / I have known words like /

go & bitch & home & brown /

if you ask me I will tell you / my Arabic fell in love / with

a couple tongues / who never loved it back / my

Arabic / is a voice full of seashells / has birthed cities / men / empires / if you ask me / if I am fluent in Arabic / I will tell you about

gradations of skin color / I will say / I am more parts storm / than organs /

if you ask me I will tell you / I don’t know how to translate

purpose / from my mother tongue / but my Arabic

loves like mint / in stalks & leaves /

is a mouthful of holy water / the splintering of ships / the crucifix / on my grandfather’s wrist / if you ask me if I am fluent /

I will answer / I take my canines out

with my earrings every night / I inventory

my edible parts / I will answer / I am not a pretty girl /

if you ask me I will tell you / I am not a pretty girl /

but my Arabic is beautiful / I have caught glimpses / the rolled r’s running through

my wrists / the calligraphy of my coastline shoulders / the forgotten

syntax of my full lips / if you ask me if I am fluent

I will tell you / I am a poet / & a poet /

owes a language her tongue / hands / toes /

I will say / before its arrival / the world was prose /

if you ask me if I am fluent I will confess / my Arabic is

poetry / & in a certain quarter of the city / on such & street / I will be remembered / as the one whose stories ate her alive / whose poetry

gutted her / in slashes of five / seven / five /

I will remind you / I have always fallen in love

too easily / I will tell you / the only language I know /

is moments of misspeaking / I diplomat my teeth /

I constellation my stammer /

if you ask me if I am fluent / I will say / a language / is just

the stars / forgetting their grammar.

©Maya Salameh ©The Greensboro Review

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

He Was My Friend: A Poem by Karim Al Iraqi (Translated by Ramzi Salti)

"Kana Sadiqi" كان صديقي [He Was My Friend] is an Arabic poem written by Iraqi poet Karim Aliraqi كريم العراقي  aka Karim Odeh  كريم عوده, about finding himself in the role of intermediary between a couple (two friends of his) whose love he had once witnessed but who were now breaking up. The poet speaks of his dilemma in the video below then goes on to recite the poem in Arabic. 
Poem translated into English by Dr. Ramzi Salti.

قصيدة "كان صديقي" للشاعر كريم العراقي (كريم عوده) يخاطب بها حبيبين افترقا وكان هو الوسيط بينهما والذي يشكى كل منهما له همه وسبب بعده عن حبيبه الآخر.
ترجم القصيدة الى الانجليزية الدكتور رمزي سلطي

This video shows the poet, Karim Al Iraqi, reading his poem in 2014:

He was my friend and she was eternally his.
Their love story, revered by everyone
How could that story, once so sweet,
Transform into quarrels, desertion, neglect?
And I, the witness, wounded in their battle
Caught between their sharp, fiery swords

I saw him, looking ill, pale, lost
His heart shattered, bleeding from regret
Be my doctor, he said, and bear my pain
Have you seen her? Did she speak of me?
Was her sorrow deeper than mine?
Does that same perfume still engulf her
Or has she changed it, repulsed by memory
I lost her like a fool loses everything
As if I had cut off my own hand.
My friend wept; she had been eternally his
That love that legends are made of.

She met me, her complexion pale
A burning candle, consumed by fire,
Wounded by the mere mention of his name
She clutched my hand, cried me a storm
He is the one, she said, who broke me
Who drenched my life in sorrow and woe
Yet I wish him well, unconditionally,
As a mother would love her child.
Tell me is he still in agony
For I fear what despair may do to him
To his fragility, to his being.
I fear for him and not myself.
Tell him that the wind has swept away,
From the harbor, a woman he once loved
Ask him to seek distant shores
For my ship he sank, my very security
Eternally lost now to he whose love
Had been my home and anchor

This story of ours, has it been told?
She talked, he talked, until the dawn
My hand, holding the phone, incessantly.
Return to each other or break apart forever
Two fiery swords, cutting me,
Bleeding the life right out of me
You have become, alas, motherless children

كان صديقي وكانت حبـَّه الأبدي
بل كان حبُّهما حكايةَ البلدِ
واستغرب الناسُ كيف القصة انقلبت
إلى خصامٍ، إلى هجرٍ، إلى نكدِ
أما أنا الشاهدُ المجروحُ بينهما
سيفان من نار يختصمان في كبدي
هو التقاني مريضاً.. تائهَ القدمِ
محطمَ القلب.. أدمى اصبع الندمِ
"كن يا صديقي طبيبي واحتمل ألمي"
هل قابلتكَ؟ وهل حدّثتَها عني؟
هل حزنـُها كان أقسى؟ أم أنا حزني؟
وذلك العطرُ هل لا زال يغمرها؟
أم غيرتهُ؟ نعم، مستاءة ٌ مني
خسرتـُها يا لطيشي لا بديل لها
ماذا فعلتُ لو قطعتُ يدي؟"
بكى صديقي.. كانت حبــَّهُ الأبدي
بل كان حبـُّهما أسطورة البلدِ
هي التقتني وقد شحُبت ملامحُها
وكما يذوبُ الشمعُ في النارِ
كان اسمُه لو مرَّ يجرحها
مسكتْ يدي وبكتْ كإعصارِ
" هو الذي دمـَّر أحلامي
هو الذي أمطرني همّا
لكنني أوصيك خيراً به
كأنني صرتُ له أمـّا
بالله هل ما زال مضطرباً؟
أخشى عليه نوبة اليأس ِ
إحساسُه العالي سيقتلـُهُ
خوفي عليه لا على نفسي
بلـِّـغه أن الريحَ قد خطفت
بنتاً على الميناءِ يعشقها
وليتجه لشواطئ ٍ أخرى
فسفينتي بيديهِ أغرقها
سَرق الأمانُ وضاع للأبدِ
من خلتـُهُ سقفي ومعتمدي"
تلك الحكاية ُ هل مرَّتْ على أحدِ؟
وكلـّمتني.. وكلـّمني.. لصبح غدِ
ما فارق الهاتفُ السهرانُ كفَّ يدي
عودا لبعضٍ أو انفصلا إلى الأبدِ
سيفان من نارٍ تختصمان في كبدي
ففيكما الآن شوقُ الأمِّ للولد
This poem was set to music and recorded by Iraqi singer Kazem El Saher. Listen below or at

Friday, June 8, 2012

Last 'Arabology' Podcast of Season 2 (aired June 7) Available Already

The 4-hour Season Finale showcases this past season's best Arabic alternative music along with commentary by DJ Ramzi plus a reading by Ahmad Qousi of Marianne Nsour's hilarious poem 'Englabic' (see poem below).

To download this Podcast (in four 1-hour segments): 

Inline image 1
DJ Ramzi (right) with Ahmad Q at KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM (June 2012)

To listen to Part 1 Click HERE (See Playlist below)

To listen to Part 1 Click HERE (See Playlist below)

To listen to Part 1 Click HERE (See Playlist below)

To listen to Part 1 Click HERE (See Playlist below)

To read 'Englabic' (Poem by Marianne Nsour read by Ahmad Qousi on the show) click HERE

Playlist for Arabology DJ: Ramzi S.Thu, 7 Jun 2012 / 1300-1700 (Artist/Track/Album/Label)

PART 1 (Listen at
Dam/Mukadime (Introduction)/ Ihda' (Dedication)/ Redcircle Music
Adonis/ Ma Kan Mafroud/ Daw L Baladiyyi/ Forward Music
Diab, Amr / 'aref Habibi (You Know My Love) Banadeek Ta'ala (I'm Calling You, Come)/ Laser
Dudley, Anne and Coleman, Jaz/ Habebe/ Songs From the Victorious City/ Tvt Records
Elhellani, Assi/ Natalie/ Single/ Rotana
Maraka, Aziz/ Bent Ennas/ Master Copy/ eka3
Samaha, Carole/ Wet3awadet/ Wet3awadet/ Rotana
Rouhana, Charbel & The Beirut Oriental Ensemble/ Al-Bint Al-Shalabiyya/ Shughl Bayt/ Forward Music
Cheba Djenet/ Kedab (Liar)/ Jalouse/ Sunhouse Records
Club D'elf/ Overture/ Electric Moroccoland/ Face Pelt Records
Cosmic Analog Ensemble/ Jeita (Upper Cave)/ The Mundane and the Cosmic/ Hisstology records 2009

PART 2 (Listen at
Baladi, Dany/ Ya Jarata/ Single/ Lebaneseunderground
Dalida/ Helwa Ya Baladi/ Paroles D'Ailleurs/ Orlando
Hamze, Darine/ Ya Zahratan Fi Khayali/ Beirut Hotel (Soundtrack)/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas
Hamze, Darine/ Ahwak/ Beirut Hotel (Soundtrack)/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas
Abbas, Edd/ Mafareq/ El Moutarakam/ h2zRap
Ayoub, Elizabeth/ Habibi/ Oceanos Y Lunas/ Four Quarters Entertainment
Mathlouthi, Emel/ Ma Lkit (Not Found)/ Kelmti Horra/ World Village
Fayrouz/ Eh, Fi Amal/ Eh, Fi Amal (Yes, There Is Hope)/ Fbe
Nasr, May/ Zgheira Chinit (Original by Seta Hagopian)/ (2010)/ RAM May Nasr
Massy, Mike/ Jazr W Mad/ Ya Zaman/ Falak Productions
Issa Ghandour/ Salma Ya Salama(sayyed darwish)/ Darwish/ Forward Music

PART 3 (Listen at
Nsour, Marianne/ Englabic (Poem read by Ahmad Qousi)/ Arabology/ KZSU
Jadal/ Al-tobah/ Arabic Rocks/ Forward Music
Labaki, Nadine/ Hashishet albi/ Where Do We Go Now?(Soundtrack)/ Sony
Mouzanar (ft. Tania Saleh)/ kifou Hal Helou/ Et maintenant on va ou (soundtrack)/ naïve
Joubran Trio/ Dawwâr El Shams (Circle Of The Sun)/ Asfar/ Harmonia Mundi France
Chamamyan, Lena/ Ya Mayela Al-Ghosoun/ The Collection/ Forward Music
Boniche, Lili/ Bambino/ Impressions of the Ori/ (Unknown)
El Husseini, Mahmoud/ Segara Bonny/ Beirut Hotel (Soundtrack)/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas
Zahair, Mido/ Islahat/ Beirut Hotel (Soundtrack)/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas

PART4 (Listen at
Mashrou' Leila/ Inni Mneeh/ El Hal Romancy/ Mashrou' Leila
Ajram, Nancy/ Sallim 'alayha (Greet Her)/ Sahret Tarab (A Night Of Ecstacy)/ New Sound
Atlas, Natacha/ Taalet (Zab Spencer Remix)/ Mounqaliba Rising: The Remixes/ Six Degrees Records
Offendum, Omar/ Finjan/ Syrianamericana/ Cosher Ink, Llc
Hamdan, Yasmine/ In Kan Fouadi/ Yasmine Hamdan/ Kuwaidan
Rousan, Yazan And Autostrad/ 'ayyat Fi 'l-Matar (Sing In The Rain)/ Autostrad/ Planet Records
Saba, Youmna/ Tehfe/ Ruptured Sessions/ Lebanese Underground
Zeid and the Wings/ Asfe (Live)/ Zeid Hamdan/ Live in Italy/ Unreleased
Hamdan, Zeid/ La Repetition/ Beirut Hotel (Soundtrack)/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas
El Ahmadie, Ziad/ Organised Chaos/ Silent Wave/ Forward Music
Alhaj, Rahim/ Sailors Three/ Little Earth/ Ur Records
Massi, Souad/ Khabar Kana/ O Houria/ Indie Europe/Zoom

Ramzi Salti's Talk: Healing through Lebanese Music (EPIC Fellows, Stanford Global Studies, September 2020)

Watch full talk at This audio-visual talk by Stanford Lecturer + Arabology program host Dr. Ramzi Salti was pre...