• Agitated Air: Poems After Ibn Arabi – Yasmine Seale + Robin Moger

    Agitated Air: Poems After Ibn Arabi – Yasmine Seale + Robin Moger

     Born in Murcia in 1165, Ibn Arabi was a prolific Muslim philosopher and poet. He travelled extensively before settling in Damascus, where he died in 1240. Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, or The Interpreter of Desires, is a cycle of sixty-one Arabic poems. They speak of loss and bewilderment, a spiritual and sensual yearning for the divine, and a hunger for communion in which near and far collapse. Agitated Air is a correspondence in poems between Istanbul and Cape Town, following the wake of The Interpreter of Desires. Collaborating at a distance, Yasmine Seale and Robin Moger work in close counterpoint, making separate translations of each poem, exchanging them, then writing new poems in response to what they receive. The process continues until they are exhausted, and then a new chain begins. Translated and retranslated, these poems fray and eddy and, their themes of intimacy across distance made various, sing back and forth, circling and never landing. Absence and approach, knowing and unknowing, failure and repetition: Ibn Arabi's cycle of ecstatic love shimmers with turbulence. Seale and Moger move into and against these contending drifts, finding in the play of dissatisfaction and endurance a prompt for new poetry.

    Yasmine Seale
    Yasmine Seale is a writer and translator. Her essays, poetry, visual art, and translations from Arabic and French have appeared widely-in Harper's, Poetry Review, Wasafiri, Apollo and elsewhere. Current projects include a new translation of The Thousand and One Nights (W.W. Norton) and a translation of the poems of Al-Khansa (NYU Press). After five years in Istanbul, she lives in Paris. - Robin Moger is a translator of Arabic to English recently moved from Cape Town to Barcelona. His translations of prose and poetry have appeared in Blackbox Manifold, The White Review, Asymptote, Words Without Borders, Seedings and others. He has translated several novels and prose works, most recently Haytham El Wardany's The Book of Sleep (Seagull) and Slipping by Mohamed Kheir (Two Lines Press).