Coffee & Books with Ahmad Almallah and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha | قهوة وكتب مع أحمد الملاح ولينا خلف تفاحة
Join Ahmad Almallah and Nada Matta for a conversation about their poetry books.
In his second book of poems, Ahmad Almallah seeks a language that captures the afterlives of the mother tongue. This collection blurs the borders between languages, between the living and the dead, between presence and absence.
The poems of Border Wisdom break and mourn physical borders at the same time. Here the exilic idea of a return to a home is expressed in the daily return to the blank page in search of a poem. In these returns the body brushes against the past and, as Hart Crane puts it, taps into “that memory all things nurse.”
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha’s Kaan and Her Sisters illuminates the work of grief and survival, the sordid legacies of official historical record and the liberatory practice of intimate narration. Tuffaha writes in the liminal space between languages, personifying Arabic verbs who guide the reader through a “history hurtling into the future.”
Kaan and Her Sisters centers character of the Arabic teacher, Miss Sahar, whose progressive displacements from Palestine and across Arab cities unfold in epistles, refashioned songs, and glimpses into the interiors of her lost home. In these disclosures, a study of time and a record of resistance to erasure emerges, and at its heart, the women who keep intergenerational memory. “Our mothers miraculous, persevering./No maps are new to the ancestors.”