Today’s episode, the final one of this series, features the work of the Palestinian poet Yousif M. Qasmiyeh. Yousif is currently a DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford, where he is writing about conceptualisations of time and containment in Arabic and English “Refugee Literature.”His poems and translations in both English and Arabic have appeared in numerous journals, including Modern Poetry in Translation and An-Nahar, one of Lebanon’s leading daily newspapers.
As writer-in-residence for the Refugee Hosts Project, he contributes poetry, translations, and essays that draw from his childhood in and visits to Baddawi camp. Located in North Lebanon, Baddawi camp has been home to Palestinian refugees since the 1950s and in more recent years to refugees from Syria. In this episode, recorded in Oxford, we discuss writing the camp, poetry’s ways of seeing, and the signs that death leavesin the camp to remember, revisit, and translate.
Over the past six months, I have enjoyed meeting poets from around the world to discuss how they write about crisis. It has been deeply rewarding for me, not only as someone who teaches and writes about poetry, but also as someone who turns to poetry in difficult times. Thank you for listening and being a part of this conversation.
Poem read in this episode:
“In arrival, feet flutter like dying birds” (refugeehosts.org)