PRX Review: Ghada Kanafani, Palestinian Poet in Exile

Producer:  Claudia Cragg (20:00)

Reviewed by David Swatling for PRX (March 4, 2007)

“Some strong emotion surfaces in this straightforward interview with exiled Palestinian poet Ghada Kanafani. Born in Lebanon in 1948 – the year creation of the state of Israel displaced her family; grew up reading Arabic poetry which brought tears to her eyes; wrote her first poem in 1967 – “the end of everything,” she says.

“I’m not the one who’s suffering,” she says. But her deep sighs and moving description of entire lives spent in refugee camps tell another story. As does the heartfelt reading of her poem at the end of the interview.

The first time I listened to this with my professional radio ears, I was put off by a shakey start and off-miked questions which sometimes interrupted the poet. But I was drawn into her story and when I listened again, these technical flaws seemed less important. I would still prefer a more artful framework for this thoughtful poet’s words and ideas. But they come through in the interview anyway, so perhaps I’m being too critical.

Might be a strong topical offering for April Poetry Month.”


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