Several years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to travel through Israel and the West Bank to talk to Palestinian and Israeli poets. Among the remarkable writers I met there and the one who made the greatest impression on viewers (I still have people talk to me about him) was Taha Muhammad Ali, who in addition to writing is a shopkeeper of a souvenir shop in Nazareth.
I was introduced to Taha Muhammad Ali by Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman, a married couple who live in Jerusalem and among other things run a small press called Ibis Editions that publishes the literature of the Levant. Peter is himself a poet and translator, Adina is a writer and now author of a new biography called ‘My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness,’ on the life of Taha Muhammad Ali. She joined recently to talk about the book:
Here’s the March 2007 segment featuring Palestinian poets, including Taha Muhammad Ali:
Here’s Taha Muhammad Ali reading some of his poems:
Finally, here’s a March 2007 interview with Hoffman and Cole: