Nathalie Handal poetry reading at the Pergamonmuseum Berlin


I want to say thanks especially to staff
endeavor for the use for the second year in a row of this fantastic space I’d
also like to thank Mecca ha right here and piranhas for putting together the
Ramadan nights the definition for Natalie Adele’s poetry is that she
defies definition in many different ways born in Kappa born in Haiti of
Palestinian descent nailing the doll was lived on four different continents and
in many different linguistic cultural and religious spaces and her poetry is
about this act of border crossing her poetry moves from English to Spanish to
French ceramic and back into English and what I find amazing is that when we read
this poetry we do this border crossing with her and even if some of us
including myself don’t know all of these languages what is amazing to me is then
it doesn’t seem strange anymore you know the language is blend into each other
and this is really a perfect space of translation that she creates and I think
whatever work does is that it asks us to redefine the categories which we use to
identify people I will start the evening in dedication of a poem for Mahmoud
Darwish which I’m sure most of you know or I hope you know he was a great
Palestinian poet who died two years ago in Texas actually and a great middle
eastern poet and i met him in my early 20s in paris and this is I’d like to
start the evening dedicating this poem to him it’s called une fois paki at the
door you greet me a vendor vamoosh I look at the shadows that might have
followed us look for the wall behind us in front of us we sit I don’t quest
between us it’s midnight or it’s late it’s morning or its day
silence has torn our voices Paris is cold the dark begins early let’s visit
as you need trees losing leaves a bird with wings growing in our hands a desire
the echo of a gunshot a river the bullet that crossed cervantes you say i respond
i remember we left his book in yesterday’s dream can we go back or has
prison come to us who are we if the earth is trapped in an unsigned painting
where are your eyes passion palm breath only Paris allows us to believe in such
metaphors we envy those who walk pass by us so easily they sleep in their bed as
we look for hours home is farther than us orange blossoms olives and coffee I
fall to catch you you help me to my fault one cigarette at a time you say
they always find us one village at a time they say it’s our house now but
here’s a room even if you don’t deserve one you say listen to Beethoven and I
follow your eyes to understand the shadows in the crowd a homeland and
absent mother did they forget we can love I’ve him idea is playing you give
me a poem about a girl you loved the windows feeling with evening with wound
wound filled with echo echo filled with cry I move closer to you I wish I could
sleep in the place that sleeps deep in your hand I wish I held your mother’s
had my father’s hand I wish I saw Cartmell from your eyes the girl you
kissed 6060 winters summers raindrops piling in our prayers in the footsteps
we are forbidden to have the birds coming today you tell me the land is
smaller than the land smaller still smaller than our movements I call your
name and you answer death you have beaten death at its game the freedom
that took you takes you and I find the colors of a faded map you never say sit
farewell never cross just cross we meet death so it doesn’t meet us we close the
door think of the groves the verses we will write the letters we will not send
insha Allah you say i can’t-do in sha allah i say the land speaks Arabic

1 thought on “Nathalie Handal poetry reading at the Pergamonmuseum Berlin

  1. Nathalie Handal is such an amazing woman and professor of English and Poetry at NJCU!

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