A New Translation from Amal Dunqul’s ‘Book of Genesis’

Arabic Literature (in English)

When asked back in 2009 what Arabic works should be translated into English, poet-translator Fady Joudah told the Quarterly Conversation he’d like to see Ghassan Zaqtan’s Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me in English. Joudah has since translated that collection — and won the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize for his translation. 

But Joudah also named two more poets, in addition to Palestinian novelist Ibrahim Nasrallah. The two poets were  Syrian Muhammad al-Maghut and Egyptian Amal Dunqul (1940 – 1983):

There are, I believe, two out-of-print collections of al-Maghut’s work in English translation, as well as a number of additional poems translated by Sinan Antoon. I don’t believe there are any full-length collections of Donqol’s work.

As Suneeya Mubayi wrote in Jadaliyya several years back, accompanying a translation of Dunqul’s “Spartacus’ Last Words,” Dunqul “was part of what is known as the ‘sixties generation’ of Egyptian poets and…

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