Translated from the Arabic and introduced by Fady Joudah, You Can Be the Last Leaf: Selected Poems draws on two decades of work to present the transcendent and timely US debut of Palestinian poet Maya Abu Al-Hayyat. Art. Garlic. Taxis. Sleepy soldiers at checkpoints. The smell of trash on a winter street, before “our wild rosebush, neglected / by the gate, / blooms.” Lovers who don’t return, the possibility that you yourself might not return. Making beds. Cleaning up vomit. Reading recipes. In You Can Be the Last Leaf, these are the ordinary and profound – sometimes tragic, sometimes dreamy, sometimes almost frivolous – moments of life under Israeli occupation. Abu Al-Hayyat has created a richly textured portrait of Palestinian interiority – at once wry and romantic, worried and tenacious, and always singing itself. Moderated by author Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.
This is a ReadingEast program.