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  Ammiel Alcalay
Ammiel Alcalay Ammiel Alcalay is poet, translator, critic and scholar. He has also been involved as an activist on many domestic and international issues. His latest work, from the warring factions (Beyond Baroque, 2002), is a book length poem dedicated to the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
Ammiel Alcalay
Poetry, Politics & Translation: American Isolation and the Middle East, a lecture given at Cornell, was published in 2003 by Palm Press. His other books include After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1993), the cairo noteboooks (Singing Horse Press, 1993), and Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays, 1982-1999 (City Lights, 1999). He has translated widely, including Sarajevo Blues (City Lights, 1998) and Nine Alexandrias (City Lights 2003) by the Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic, and Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing (City Lights, 1996). Current projects include co-translation of a Hebrew novel, Outcast, by Shimon Ballas (City Lights, 2006); A Little History, a book of essays on politics and poetics (Beyond Baroque, 2006), and a collective translation of the Syrian poet Faraj Bayraqdar (Beyond Baroque, 2006). A mixed critical poetic piece, tentatively called Scrapmetal, is due out in the Fall of 2006 from Factory School in the Heretical Texts series. Along with Anne Waldman and others, he was one of the initiators of the Poetry Is News Coalition, and he organized, with Mike Kelleher, the OlsonNow project.

excerpt: from the warring factions

(Beyond Baroque, 2002)


Ammiel Alcalay
lo these many years of construction repairing
the irreparable potholes the gaping erosion of
industrial repetition this tarred and feathered
landscape this tarred and feathered history

my neighbor found an arrowhead in
his backyard 385 10th st. Brooklyn

waking up in a sweat I found the Old Bridge hanging
from my neck and the whole town of Pocitelj
in the pocket of my jacket draped over a
chair in the shadow of a pot filled with
rosemary and lavender





from: Legally Hanged

(Body on the bridge)



From an abandoned garage
by the Museum of the Revolution
we looked at windows on Grbavica
when from the river voices could be heard
What's that?
"Nothing" Benjamin says
"they're changing a body on the bridge"

Twelve years have gone by
and for the first time
I'm thinking about that nothing


- Semezdin Mehmedinovic
Translated from Bosnian
by Ammiel Alcalay



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