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Venus Khoury-Ghata

Books by this author: Alphabets of Sand
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  • Venus Khoury Ghata is a Lebanese poet and novelist, resident in France since 1973, the author of sixteen collections of poems and twenty novels. She received the Prix Mallarme in 1987 for Monologue du mort, and the Grand Prix de la Societe des Gens de Lettres for Fables pour un people d'argile in 1992, and she was named a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 2000. Her work has been translated into Arabic, Dutch, German, Italian and Russian, and she herself translates contemporary Arabic poetry into French. Her most recent collection of poems, Les obscurcis, was published in 2008 by Mercure de France, which also published her novel Sept pierres pour la femme adultere in 2007. Three collections of her poems and one novel, all translated by Marilyn Hacker, have appeared in English in the United States: She Says was a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award in poetry in 2003.
    Praise for Venus Khoury-Ghata 'Hacker opens for English-language readers a veritable 'suitcase filled with alphabets' - the perfectly blended French and Arabic imagination of Lebanese native and French emigree writer Venus Khoury-Ghata, who evokes in sinuous lines and multivalent imagery the richness of her experiences of a multi-ethnic traditional culture.'
    The Women's Review of Books
    'Venus Khoury-Ghata's poems are striking for their combined innocence and wisdom. In Marilyn Hacker's pristine translations, the poems are dreamlike and real, mysterious and utterly true. Here Khoury-Ghata envisions the beginnings of the world and modern tragedy simultaneously and with a heightened clarity. Language shines in a new light as she searches for its origin: 'How to find the name of the fisherman who hooked the first word / of the woman who warmed it in her armpit / or of the one who mistook it for a pebble and threw it at a stray dog. 'And she takes us to a time when 'Everything that frequented water had a soul / clay jug, gourd, basin 'buckets fished out the ones stagnating in the wells' indifference.' I am enchanted.'
    Grace Schulman
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