Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘sonia ashkar alam

Free Style “Poetry”: The Lebanese kind (March 7, 2009)



            A neighbor in Kunetra had published a poetry volume last year and is ready to publish another one.  Sonia Ashkar Alam dedicated her first volume to me with expectation to review it on  I told her that I am no poet but she insisted on ground that any kind of dissemination is a god thing.


I selected one poem out of 33 simply because it is about a friend of mine and a relative who died in a bomb blast in the city of Antelias during the Lebanese civil war.  Rasheed Ashkar was teaching chemistry in high schools.


The Man (to the soul of Rasheed Ashkar)


He vanished suddenly and never came back

Back hunched

Ending his journey

Leaving behind

Touches of blame, confused, and muddled.


Stretched on the mat of exhaustion

Here he is!

His spring is dreams

His autumn harvest

But his winter is cloudy.


God is his salvation.

Amid whiffs of sighs

Shouts of aches and lamentations

Resonate in fear

In flight



Chased away

By tears of regret

This is man

Looking up

Talking to the Creator

And the door of heaven

Opening up to welcome him


Note 1: Not directly related to this volume of poems I have to register a warning. There is this Free Style Poetry that has been around for over 40 years.  The idea is to free the poet of classical Arabic stringent constraints in rime, rhythm and cadence and thus liberate imagination to smooth flow that permit to convey the full meaning of the emotions.  I am no poet but I couldn’t help realizing that the first volume of the new authors is invariably a “poetry book”.  As I read I never can figure out where the sentence starts and where it ends; sometimes I have the impression that Free Style is also about liberating authors of meaningful prose writing. The trick is to consider one word as a full sentence occupying an entire line; thus, ten words fill a page and two pages constitute a poem. A few use graphic designs shape and forms on the words accompanied with free hand drawings attached to every poem.


Note 2: I understand that most of us in the Arab world are no longer proficient in classical Arabic literature and that Arabic grammars were written by famous Persian linguists in order to aid Persians assimilating the proper Arabic language as spoken by the bedwins during the Arabic Empire. I understand that the stringent constraints for classical Arabic poetry are almost insurmountable in our present age.  Nevertheless, Arabic prose is still accessible, with some hard work, and many have been writing in the slang of their State.


My question is: If the author is not ready to express his own emotional frailty and shortcomings then why write poetry?  What’s wrong with writing short stories and personal experiences?




March 2023

Blog Stats

  • 1,518,935 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 764 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: