Teach Issue 23

Cover of Issue 23 of The Common, showing a piece of toast on a teal backdrop with The Common's logo superimposedWhy Teach The Common?

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Supplementary materials for teaching Issue 23 are listed below.

To accompany the portfolio Arabic Short Stories from Palestine

Explore our collected resources and lesson plans related to literary translation in general, and to Arabic literature in translation, in particular. 


Podcast: Nariman Youssef. Nariman has translated numerous Arabic stories for The Common’s portfolios. In this conversation, Nariman discusses three stories she translated for the Issue 21 portfolio of stories from Morocco and the conscious and unconscious decisions a translator makes through many drafts, including the choice to preserve some features of the language, sound, and cadence that may not sound very familiar to English-language readers. She also discusses her thoughts on how the translation world has changed over the years, and her exciting work as Arabic Translation Manager at the British Library.


In an interview with Book Blast, translator Nashwa Gowanlock discusses her career as a translator, favorite literary journals, and favorite prose writers.


“Palestinian Intellectuals Discuss Politics and Ethics of Translation.” Eyad Barghuthy participated in and edited this discussion on the practice and ramifications of translating literary works from Arabic into Hebrew, hosted by the Maktoob book series, for which Barguthy is an editor (via Journal of Levantine Studies). 


In Abeer Khshiboon’s “The Stranger,” a Fairouz concert provides the setting for a vital moment of connection; read more about Fairouz’s significance and listen to some of her songs (via The Markaz Review).


Learn more about the work of Samira Azzam at ArabLit.org; Azzam’s story “The Roc Flew Over Shahraban” is from a collection of Azzam’s stories, Out of Time, translated by Ranya Abdelrahman, which will be available in fall 2022.


Pair Sheikha Hussein Helawy’s “Who Drew the Curtains” with her story “A Night Visit” via The Short Story Project (also available in Arabic and Hebrew); students might consider how the narrative voices  in these stories grant the reader access to otherwise inaccessible perspectives. 


Poetry by Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud is featured alongside work by ten other Arabic-language poets, via The Loch Raven Review.


See also: Words Without Borders collection New Palestinian Writing, selected and introduced by Nathalie Handal, which includes another story by Issue 23 contributor Eyad Barghuthy: “A Knockout Punch.” 


For further exploration here and elsewhere 

Podcast: Nathan Jordan Poole on “Idlewild.” In this conversation, Nathan talks about doing seasonal work at Christmas tree farms, the workers from all walks of life he met there, and how those experiences and those people helped to inspire this story. He also discusses his writing and revision process, his story collections and future projects, and why he chooses to write unromantically about rural life.


After reading “The Marching Bands of Mahatma Gandhi Road,” read more from Liesl Schwabe: “Flying the Hump” in The Common Online and “To the Sadhu Who Buried Himself Underground” in Off Assignment’s Letter to a Stranger column. 


In “A Letter to Leena” Mary Jo Salter writes toward the future, while Jane Satterfield’s “Letter to Emily Brontë” addresses a subject long gone, and yet each of these poems is also deeply situated in a present moment shaped by the pandemic. Students might consider how each poem addresses and communicates to its subject, and the sense of intimacy created within each poem, before trying their own hand at their own epistolary poems. For further inspiration, see other epistolary poems in our pages: Jessica Lanay’s “A Complicated Letter to Sándor Ferenczi” (Issue 15) and Angela Veronica Wong’s “Dear Johnny, In Your Last Letter” (Issue 03). 


After reading “Adoption Day” read Mark Kyungsoo Bias’s poems “Visitor” and “Meeting My Mother” in our February 2022 poetry feature; for further exploration, see Bias’s poem “Space Music” in the Adroit Journal, along with a brief summary of how he wrote the poem.


After reading “Breakfast of Champions,” explore Tina Cane’s “Essay on States” and “Regime” in our August 2021 poetry feature; for further insight into Cane’s work, see “Poetry, Politics, and Public Spaces: An Interview with Tina Cane” in Brown Political Review.


More from Issue 23’s poets in our pages:

Teach Issue 23