Ghayath Almadhoun

Ghayath Almadhoun is a Palestinian poet born in Damascus in 1979. He has lived in Stockholm since 2008. Almadhoun has published four collections of poetry, most recently Adrenalin in 2017. In Sweden, he has been translated and published in two collections: Asylansökan (Ersatz, 2010), and Till Damaskus (Albert Bonniers Förlag, 2014) together with the Swedish poet Marie Silkeberg. With Silkeberg, Almadhoun has also made several poetry films. The renowned American artist Jenny Holzer has projected many poems by Almadhoun in Denmark, USA and Italy. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Adrenalin, a selection of his poems translated into English by Catherine Cobham, was released in 2017 with Action Books, USA.

www.ghayathalmadhoun.com

Photo: Justė Gadliauskaitė

Events

Palestinian Poetry Showcase »

Showcase: putting translation under the spotlight

Sun 10 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Council Chamber

Poem

How I became…

Her grief fell from the balcony and broke into pieces, so she needed a new grief. When I went with her to the market the prices were unreal, so I advised her to buy a used grief. We found one in excellent condition although it was a bit big. As the vendor told us, it belonged to a young poet who had killed himself the previous summer. She liked this grief so we decided to take it. We argued with the vendor over the price and he said he’d give us an angst dating from the sixties as a free gift if we bought the grief. We agreed, and I was happy with this unexpected angst. She sensed this and said ‘It’s yours’. I took it and put it in my bag and we went off. In the evening I remembered it and took it out of the bag and examined it closely. It was high quality and in excellent condition despite half a century of use. The vendor must have been unaware of its value otherwise he wouldn’t have given it to us in exchange for buying a young poet’s low quality grief. The thing that pleased me most about it was that it was existentialist angst, meticulously crafted and containing details of extraordinary subtlety and beauty. It must have belonged to an intellectual with encyclopedic knowledge or a former prisoner. I began to use it and insomnia became my constant companion. I became an enthusiastic supporter of peace negotiations and stopped visiting relatives. There were increasing numbers of memoirs in my bookshelves and I no longer voiced my opinion, except on rare occasions. Human beings became more precious to me than nations and I began to feel a general ennui, but what I noticed most was that I had become a poet.

 

Ghayath Almadhoun, tr. Catherine Cobham

From Adrenalin (Action Books, 2017)