Poem by Sukaina Habiballah: ‘Everything in You Grew, But Not Your Hand’

Translated by Robin Moger.

Posted on ArabLit May 25, 2o18.

Over at Youssef Rakha’s Cosmopolitan Hotel, there are six poems in Robin Moger’s translation, by Moroccan writer Sukaina Habiballah, who is a writer hardly ever whispered about in English:

Sukaina Habiballah

Author of both poetry and prose, Habiballah was a recipient of Arab Fund for Arts an Culture and al-Mawred al-Thaqafy grants, as well as winner of several awards for poets, including the Buland al-Haidari prize for young poets. Among her poetry collections are A Quarter Century of Sight (2014) and There’s No Need for You (2015).

One of the poems, tr. Robin Moger:

Familiar wounds

Everything in you grew, but not your hand.

Whenever they pushed your way a finger,

A dry stick or a blade,

Incautious, undiscerning

As a babe’s,

Your rude fist wrapped it round

And clung.    

Read all six over at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

More of Habiballah’s work in Arabic, including a chapter from her 2016 novel House of Straw, can be found at el-MawjaAs Moger points out below, Kareem James Abu-Zeid also translated one of Habiballah’s poems for WWB: “Anatomy of the Rose.

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