This volume of the International Journal of Euro-Mediterranean Studies: A Taste of Today’s Gulf Literature has been around since 2016, but I only just stumbled across it:
The magazine — the product of a collaboration between the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI), Banipal magazine, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia — features work by 29 different GCC authors. The opening piece is by Saudi novelist Raja Alem, whose Sarab was recently published in Leri Price’s translation.
Here, editors include an excerpt from Alem’s essay: “My Literary Influences,” translated by Ghenwa Hayek. It opens:
All the excerpts seem to have been published in different issues of Banipal, but here they are collected and made freely available, with a collective-commons license, online.
And from Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad, translated by Khaled Mattawa:
weave their new rags
in a morning with a missing sun.
Their bodies convulse, and their fingers are caught in a fever
They spin languages with the excitement of magicians
and the confidence of artisans.
They offer wool to summer and ice to winter.
Friends east of the water,
they work well in solitude,
I stand on the shore.
I watch their silhouettes outline the horizon.
I send them books in bottles that expunge my words,
and they are exceedingly gentle with them.
with flaming feet
they climb, burdened with scrolls,
a bridge that praises geography and disparages history
and vigilantly watches against the written word.
They hold texts under their arms
and descend like goats decorating the road.
I embrace them.
They cross through terror.
Their memories are of blood,
and their fingers, fastened to glass shards,
are soiled with hacked hearts.
We crash in the midst of love and death
like waves churning salt and luring vessels.
Naked bodies of young men,
where a shirt is never woven for summer,
and no feast is prepared for winter.
The lonesome friends are there.
You can find the whole issue online.
Click HERE to read more from this author.