Nizar Sartawi

Nizar Sartawi


Nizar Sartawi is a poet, translator and educator. He was born in Sarta, Palestine, in 1951. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Jordan, Amman, and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from the University of Minnesota. Sartawi is a member of the Jordanian Writers Association and General Union of Arab Writers. He has participated in poetry readings and festivals in Jordan, Lebanon, Kosovo, Palestine and Morocco. His first poetry collection, Between Two Eras, was published in Beirut, Lebanon in 2011. His translations include: The Prayers of the Nightingale (2013), poems by Indian poet Sarojini Naidu; Fragments of the Moon (2013), poems by Italian poet Mario Rigli; The Souls Dances in its Cradle (2015), poems by Danish poet Niels Hav; all three translated into Arabic; and Contemporary Jordanian Poets, Volume I (2013); The Eyes of the Wind (2015), poems by Tunisian poet Fadhila Masaai; both translated into English. Sartawi is currently working on a translation project, Contemporary Arab Poets Series. His poems and translations have been anthologized and published in books, journals, and newspapers in Arab countries, the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, Italy, the Philippines, and India.




So every evening
coming back home
I take a knowing peek
inside the old mailbox

And knowing I know,
it seems to me,
the rude bare bottom
sneers at me


a quirky quiver
of awkward spasms
and there I was
whistling my livid protests
at a choir of cloaked shadows
who’d been
so weirdly
on dragging me
out of my soupy sojourn –
a cozy, warm dwelling
fit for a hermit

a mighty ghost grabbed me
slapped me
wrapped me
trapped me
like a POW
in a tiny cell
or was it a cage?

that was a long, long time ago

and now here
i am
a loner still
a prisoner of peace
a happy hermit in a happy little hut


Born in the land of Ragnarök
We neither whine nor wail
With sword and flames in our hands
We fight the ice and the giants
And push away colossal death.
The women who fly into space –
To bear our dead to Valhalla –
Never arrive
In our eyes no glorious dance
The gods do not wipe the wounds in our bodies
We drink no wine in the skulls of enemies
~ ~ ~
The ice and giants march on and on
The swords freeze in our hands
Blood freezes in our veins
We drown in ice
We turn into a block of ice


in the afternoon
his rendezvous with her
and her shadow too

standing in the park
behind a little cabin
two shadows kissing

on your way windstorm
bring dust and leaves and paper
and letters for me

a sudden whirlwind
the poems i wrote outdoors
delivered to heaven
the almond tree
blossoms falling falling
the child still swinging

in the olive grove
singing aloud all night long
with the cicadas


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One Comment:

  1. My deep gratitude to editor, poet, translator and film maker Kalpna Singh-Chitnis for publishing my poems in the Third Edition of “Life and Legends.”

    Niza Sartawi

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