• Your name, Palestine – Olivia Elias

    Your name, Palestine – Olivia Elias

    Translated from French by SARAH RIGGS and JÉRÉMY VICTOR ROBERT
    Drawings by BASIL KING

    In Your Name, Palestine, French-Palestinian poet Olivia Elias, who took refuge in Lebanon in 1948 before moving to France and Canada, remembers the country she had to leave.

    Elias’s second collection in English is an ode to the blazing beauty of Palestine in which the poet draws from the “heart and the wind playing between high hills and deserts” the strength to question the doom that came to her hometown. Taking inspiration from Aimé Césaire and other writers, and with the help of musicians, Elias redefines the notion of nation, and the sense of belonging, be it to a country or a memory. “Your Name, Palestine,” the choral poem at the center of this book, commends a “people that knocks / relentlessly on the doors of the future / a country pushed into the margins of history.

    Printed in a limited edition of 300 copies, this hand-bound chapbook with letterpress covers features a series of drawings made in response to Elias’s poems by Basil King, a New-York-based artist and writer associated with Black Mountain College.
    A poet of the Palestinian diaspora, OLIVIA ELIAS writes in French. Born in Haifa in 1944, she lived until the age of sixteen in Lebanon, where her family took refuge in 1948, then in Montreal, before moving to France. Her work, translated into English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, has appeared in anthologies and numerous journals. In 2022, she published her first book in English translation, Chaos, Crossing (World Poetry), translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid.