From the Apogee Journal blog, Perigee.
The following is a “round-email” discussion between Issue 4 contributors– Author Hisham Bustani and Arabic to English translator Thoraya El-Rayyes– with Poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Their communication investigates experimental form, the commodification of art, and questions what literature can, and should, give to the world. A special thanks to Apogee Staffer F. T. Kola who made this possible.
Cecca: Dear Naomi, Thoraya, and Hisham, It is my pleasure to put the three of you in touch. This is all a bit of an experiment. Thanks for being willing to give this a go. I have a couple questions I’ll throw out to set this dialog in motion: I was really taken by Hisham’s form. “The City is in My Chest” begins as a nonfiction narrative that slowly transforms into a work of fiction. It strikes me that in the US there is a lack of experimentation with form in prose. I am interested to know more about the author’s stylistic choices. And, as you are all aware, in the US there is a near blackout of non-anglophonic literature. In your opinions, what does contemporary Arab literature look like?