For Valentine’s Day: Love and Anti-Love Poems, and Things Between


Arabic Literature (in English)

Valentine’s Day is just two days off. Nothing yet to scribble in your card?

LoveModern love:

Three Arabic poems were among those chosen for the “50 greatest modern love poems“; they are: “Love,” by Iman Mersal, trans. Khaled Mattawa; “A Song and Three Questions” by Amjad Nasser, also trans. Mattawa, and “In Search of the Other” by Ashjan Al Hendi, trans. the author.

High romantic love:

For this, there is Nizar Qabbani. See seven of his poems translated by B. Frangieh and C. Brown. Or “When I Love You,” trans. Lena Jayyusi and Jack Collum.

Raunchy love…or anti-love:

Many of the poems from the first chapter of Sinan Antoon’s The Poetics of the Obscene in Premodern Arabic Poetry should suffice, whatever your desire.

Man to man:

Abu Nuwas. Several of his homoerotic poems are collected here, including “In the Bath-House.

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