A Boat to Lesbos: and other poems (Paperback)
A Boat to Lesbos, by Syrian poet Nouri al-Jarrah (his first collection in English translation), was written as Syrian refugees endured frightening journeys across the Mediterranean before arriving on the small island. Set out like a Greek tragedy, it is dramatic witness to the horrors and ravages they suffered, seen through the eye of history, the poetry of Sappho and the travels of Odysseus. In 2021 A Boat to Lesbos was shortlisted for the inaugural Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation.
ouri al-Jarrah was born in Damascus in 1956. He attracted attention with his debut collection of poems, The Boy, published in Beirut in 1982 and has become an influential poetic voice on the Arab literary scene. Since 1986 he has lived in London, publishing 14 further collections, and founding and editing a number of Arabic literary magazines. His poetry draws on diverse cultural sources, and is marked by a special focus on mythology, folk tales and legends. A Boat to Lesbos has Arabic, French, Spanish and Turkish editions, as well as the English one. Camilo Gómez-Rivas is a historian of the medieval Mediterranean. He wrote a doctoral thesis on Islamic law and society in the Maghreb at Yale University. At the American University in Cairo, where he taught in the department of Arab and Islamic Civilisations for five years, his research focused on the social history of Islamic Spain and the Maghreb in the medieval and early modern periods. He translates poetry from Arabic to English and is a Banipal contributing editor. He is Associate Professor of Mediterranean Studies in the Literature Department of the University of California, Santa Cruz. Allison Blecker is a research associate at Swarthmore College. She received her PhD from Harvard University in Arabic literature with a secondary field in comparative literature. Her dissertation,?Eco-Alterity: Writing the Environment in the Literature of North Africa and the Middle East, is situated at the intersection of Arabic literature and the environmental humanities. Allison’s translations of Arabic poetry have appeared in?Banipal?and she co-translated a collection of poetry by Nouri Al-Jarrah,?A Boat to Lesbos?(2018).