Excerpts from The Clutter of Words by Suzanne Alaywan

Transference, Dec 2017

Translated from Arabic by Nina Youkhanna

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Excerpts from The Clutter of Words by Suzanne Alaywan

Excerpts from Th e Clut er of Words by Suzanne Alaywan Part of the Classical Literature 0 Philology Commons 0 Comparative Literature Commons 0 East Asian Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 European Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 French 0 Francophone Language 0 Literature Commons 0 German Language 0 Literature Commons 0 International 0 Area Studies Commons 0 Linguistics Commons 0 Modern Languages Commons 0 Modern Literature Commons 0 Near Eastern Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 Poetry Commons 0 the Reading 0 Language Commons 0 0 Nina Youkhanna University of Toronto Follow this and additional works at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference - Article 3 Nina Youkhanna Excerpts from The Clutter of Words 1 Who has broken the moon’s lantern? What rain is this that Extinguishes the stars with its shoe? Where is my window, O walls? Who has made the willow cry on the shore of my soul? And you, my hand, Wherefrom did you get all this fearlessness? 2. Pdf page 9 a. Paragraph 2, line مﻼﻜﻟا ﺐﯿﻛاﺮﻛ b. Paragraph 3, line karakeeb (ﺐﯿﻛاﺮﻛ), 2 Because the morning has lost its yearning. Because I have outrun my desire 3. Pdf page 39 and emptied speech of all its clutter. Poem title: Because I am without friends. Standing My heart, a shadow rose. My body, an absence tree. Because ink is not blood. Because my photographs do not resemble me 4. Pdf page 42 and the moon that hangs in the closet is not suitable to clothe Pmoyesmoult.itle: Because I loved with a worthless sincerity The Ninth Floor Ag and only when I was broken The Military Hospit did I realize the magnitude of the tragedy. Because this city reminds me of a woman’s voice whose defeat I cannot forget. Because God is singular and death is innumerable 5. Pdf page 44 And because we no longer exchange letters. a. Paragraph 1, line Because of all this, the rain creates— in the space between one drop and the next— this colossal echo. (دﻼﺒﻟا ﺮﻋﺎﺷ), b. Paragraph 1, line (ﺔﺘﺴﻟا مﺎﯾﻷا ﺪﯿ 2017 1 3 Clowns with their powders, without features. Angels dead in the arcades. The cafe of the past. Cement squares and benches. Music that leans towards the cry of the window. A season of birds. Disease. Hospital. Recurrent scenes of suffering every time. Closed doors. Our bitter tears on the doorknobs. A school uniform suspended by its shredded wings. Prostitutes embracing their umbrellas In the frost of dawn on distant sidewalks. Overcoat wet like a handkerchief. The woman whose hair used to laugh with the willows and with the stars. Her unknown place is in a cemetery somewhere. Tattered posters on the remnants of walls. The desolate city. With its wrecked houses and its children charred in the refugee camps. Water and metal—that impossible equation. Rain: the hammer and the nails, our shattered mirrors. Commentary Arabic Script Corrections – Transfe 1. Pdf page 7 Suzanne Alaywan was born in PBoeeirmuttiitnle:1974 to a Lebanese father and an Iraqi mother. She graduated from theCAlumtteerriocafnWords Excerpts from The University of Cairo in 1997 with a degree in journalism and media. During the Lebanese war, she spent the majority of hAerrayboiuctShcbreipt wteCeonrrCeacirtioo,nPsa–ris and TrمaﻼnﻜsﻟاSfﺐepraﯿeﻛinاnﺮ.cﻛIenVaddition to writing, she also paints and has previously published her artwork i1n.,Padnfdpaasgpea7rt of, her poetry collections. She currently resides iPnoBemeirtuittl.eS:he has a personal we2b.sPitdefwphaegree 9she publishes her pEoxecterrypatsndfrohmer TarhtewCorlukt,therttopf:/W/woawr.dwPsa.sruazgaranpnhe-2a,laliynwea2n:.com. The three translated poems appear in her 2006 collectمiﻼoﻜnﻟاtﺐitlﯿeﻛdاﺮTﻛhe Clutter of Words (مﻼﻜﻟا ﺐﯿﻛاﺮﻛ ), which, appearing as one long poem, consists of short segments. There are several reoccurring images in the long pbo.emParthagartalpinhk3t,hleinseh3o:rter ones t2o.gPedthfepr,agsuec9h as the heavy rain that provides the soundtrack to Alaywan’s words.2:However, aknadraakseetbhe(ﺐtiﯿtﻛlاeﺮﻛi)n,dicates, this a. Paragraph 2, line collection is made up of words—scattered, incoherent, reverberating, pregnant. They appear together in (often peculiar yet organﺐicﯿ)ﻛاﺮsuﻛccession, and attempt to transmit profound emoمﻼﻜﻟا tions, unencumbered by syntax and grammatical regulations. b. ParaPgerarhpahp3s, iltinise t3h:is “clutter”3t.hPadtfpproavgeed3t9he most difficult to translate into English. The APraobeimc wtitolred: Alaywan employs, kkaarraakkeeeebb (ﺐﯿﻛاﺮﻛ), refers to an aSrtraanydionfg old, worthlesفsﻮhﻗoﻮuﻟاsمeﺎﻘﻣ items such as furniture—what is referred to in English as “junk.” However, I have opted for “clutter” instead because, in its implications of untidiness, it perfectly represents the chain of p3o.ePtdicf ipmaaggee3s9that permeate thi4s. cPodllfecptaiogne.4A2laywan emphasPiozeesmt htietlesi:multaneous power anPdoiemmptoittleen:ce of words, which, mStuacnhdilnikge our feelingsف,cﻮaﻗﻮnﻟا bمﺎeﻘﻣcTohneveNyiendthinFlfooorrceAfuglaiwna:ys, yet somehow remain ineffable. The MilimtayryaHbiolistpyi,tatlo remain I have attempted, to the best of as true as possible to the text in my translation. Alaywan’s use of free verse enables her to construct disarrayed verses outs4i.dPedtfhepargesetr4i2ctions of rhyme and meter, and it was certainly aPochemallteintlgee: to imitate that same 5st.rPudctfuprea gine E44nglish because it oTfhteenNbiencthomFelososrtrAangagiena:nd unintae.llPigairbalger.aIpnhth1e,sliencea1se:s, I h aًادvﺪeﺠﻣ ﻊﺳﺎﺘﻟا pTrhiveilMegielidtamryeHanoisnpgitoavler composition because, I believe, thatيiﺮsﻜﺴﻌﻟا ﻰﻔﺸ the essence of Alaywan’s writing(.دﻼFﺒoﻟاrﺮeﻋxﺎaﺷm), ple, for the second poem I separated the last three lines and add a final “Because of f al all this” in order to indicate to the reader that all the previous “Because’s” were intended to lead to the final image of the rain drops’ echo. Most of the punctuation was also added for the purpose of rendering, as closely as possible, the flow of the original Arabic. My immeasurable love for Arabic poetry proved at times to be a frustrating obstacle in my search for the perfect rendition of Alaywan’s bewitching words. Nevertheless, the process was delightful in its own right because I had the support and guidance of my inspiring sister Nahrin, and my father Atalla whose love of poetry has nurtured my soul since birth. Source text: Alaywan, Suzanne. The Clutter of Words. Beirut, 2006, pp. 3, 8-9, 18-19.


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Nina Youkhanna. Excerpts from The Clutter of Words by Suzanne Alaywan, Transference, 2017,