Chronicles of Majnun Layla and selected poems

by Qassim Haddad

“The translation is magnificent, and the author is a revelation. Majnun Layla is a complex and layered lyrical story of love. Almost all the sensual and intellectual levels of this story end up in creating a cultural mosaic that is elegiac, supple, graceful, and profound”—Andrei Codrescu, author of Whatever Gets You through the Night: A Story of Sheherezade and the Arabian Entertainments

“One of the most original collections of poems by the major Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad. Haddad’s roots in the rich Arab poetic heritage are matched by an equally intimate gaze on the modern world and its contemporary idiom. With an accurate rendering of content, Ghazoul and Verlenden’s translation has an admirable fidelity to nuance, mood, and tone, remaining faithful to a collection dedicated to the eternal subject of love and its boundless wonders.”—Salma Khadra Jayyusi, editor of Modern Arabic Poetry: An Anthology

“Haddad, with the deconstructing logic of a cubist painter, rescues the overly familiar Arab love story of Majnun Layla from aesthetic oblivion. What emerges is a radical innovation in Modern Arabic poetry. Ghazoul and Verlenden’s beautifully enhancing English translation presents the refreshing eye of Qassim Haddad to the English reader.”—Jaroslav Stetkevych, author of The Modern Arabic Literary Language

Chronicles of Majnun Layla and Selected Poems brings together Haddad’s seminal work and considerable selection of poems from his oeuvre, stretching over forty years. The central poem recasts the seventh-century story into a contemporary poetic narrative. The selected poems reveal Haddad’s playful yet profound meditations.