We wandered through Arabic poetry and prose to talk about many different forms of literary love: regretful love, unreciprocated love, bad love, vengeful love, liberating love, married love.
We read this poem by Núra al-Hawshán:
“O eyes, pour me the clearest, freshest tears
And when the fresh part’s over, pour me the dregs.
O eyes, gaze at his harvest and guard it.
Keep watch upon his water-camels, look at his well.
If he passes me on the road
I can’t speak to him.
O God, such affliction
And utter calamity!
Whoever desires us
We scorn to desire,
And whom we desire
Feeble fate does not deliver.”
The Núra al-Hawshán poem, translated by Moneera al-Ghadeer, has a modern musical adaptation on YouTube produced by Majed Al Esa.
Do’a al-Karawan (“The Nightingale’s Prayer”) by Taha Hussein
I Do Not Sleep, Ihsan Abdel Kouddous, trans. Jonathan Smolin
The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz (1956-57)
Al-Bab al-Maftouh (The Open Door) Latifa al-Zayyat, trans. Marilyn Booth (1960)
All That I Want to Forget, by Bothayna Al-Essa, translated by Michele Henjum.
Rita and the Rifle, Mahmoud Darwish, made into a song by Marcel Khalife.
Ode to My Husband, Who Brings the Music by Zeina Hashem Beck