A Glimpse into Azmi Abdelwahab's Poetry in English

Source: Mahmoud El-Wardani and Marwa Mohie El-Din - Al-Ahram Weekly

Shakhs Gadir Belkarahia (A person worthy of hate)Worthy Of Hate Poetry collection by Azmi Abdulwahab
Dar al- nahda al-Arabiya 2011 poetry collection, by Azmi Abdul Wahab, 72 PP

Azmi Abd El-Wahab's latest poetry collection, Shakhs Gadir Belkarahia (A person worthy of hate) combines nine poems of varying length.

The poet has published five collections of poetry since the 90's. These collections formed a distinct experience among his fans.

A style sample from the final collection:
"Dear writers
you who drink beer in 'Al-Horia cafe'
burdened by the major issues
in the 'Zahret Al-Bostan'
And love 'Cairo Atelier' on Tuesday
I invite you to stand a minute of silence
because my beloved got married yesteday.'

Ba'd Khuroug Al-Malak Mubasharatan (Just After the Angel's Exit)
Azmi Abdel-Wahab, Cairo: Miret for Publication and Information, 2002. pp74
Azmy Abdel Wahab's poetry book collection Angel's Exit
In this, Azmi Abdel-Wahab's fourth collection of poetry, ten new poems exemplify the poet's masterful command of prose as a medium of poetic expression, Abdel-Wahab not resorting to prose out of ignorance of the rules of rhythm, unlike some of his contemporaries. On the contrary, the poet's three books thus far -- Al-Asmaa La Taliq Bil Amaken (The Names Don't Fit the Places), Biakadhib Sawdaa Kathira (With Many Black Lies), Al-Nafafidh La Athar Laha (No Sign in the Windows) -- display an accomplished understanding of the requirements of poetic composition and an emotive flare that remains his own. Here too Abdel-Wahab is consistent:
"I will see them clearly
When they lower my old body
With the appropriate pomp
When I encounter lovers
Who could not bear their bodies' obscenities
And therefore went
To angels who comb their hair
Who warm up their extremities
Green wings growing from them."

Bi-Akadhib Suda' Kathira (With Many Black Lies)
Many Black Lies Poetry collection by Azmi Abdelwahab Azmi Abdel-Wahab. Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organisation, 1998

Azmi Abdel-Wahab's second collection of poems confirms his status as one of the leading voices of the new generation of poets who are currently battling against all odds in an attempt to restore to poetry its once prestigious status in Arabic literature during a time when very few read poetry. Though Abdel-Wahab clearly belongs to this new generation of poets, his poetry, especially when it tackles the crisis that poetry is facing, stands out as unique. In the poem from which the collection takes its title, we read the following lines:

"When I raise a finger
in support of words
which I did not hear
I know that the world is narrower than a shoe
And colder than
The glass eye of a dictator."