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Poetry from Aldeburgh Three poems by Taha Muhammad Ali Translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin

A charismatic personality and a writer of remarkable gifts, Taha Muhammad Ali has lived through the many stages of the Israeli–Arab conflict, and his poetry emerges directly from the crucible of that tragedy. Muhammad Ali was born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya. During the Arab–Israeli war of 1948, he was forced to flee to Lebanon, together with most of the inhabitants of his village; a year later he slipped across the border with his family and, finding his village destroyed, settled in Nazareth, where he has lived ever since. An autodidact, he has supported himself for many years by selling souvenirs in his shop near the Church of the Annunciation. A late-comer to publication – he was already in his fifties when he published his first volume of poems – Muhammad Ali is now one of the leading poets on the contemporary Palestinian literary scene. He is the author of five books of poems in Arabic and a volume of short stories. An English selection of his work – So What: New & Selected Poems, 1971–2005 – was published to wide acclaim in the United

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