Taha Muhammad Ali (1931 – 2011)

Born in Saffuriya, Galilee, Taha Muhammad Ali lived many years in Nazareth and began writing and publishing poetry in the 1970s. Biography at Poetry Foundation. Additional background and poems at Poetry International. Short interview and reading on PBS “weekly poem.”

TVL1 podcast (2014), includes reading from “Twigs” —


In the video below, after Peter Cole reads two of his own poems, he does his half of what would have been a duet with Taha Muhammad Ali, for “Meeting at an Airport” (starts at:325)

Reading in Arabic by the poet and in English by translator Peter Cole, plus English interview.

from the collection So What: New and Selected Poems (with a Story): 1971-2005. Translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2006.

Reading Contents (Arabic precedes English in each reading):

Start — “Abd El-Hadi Fights a Superpower” [see Poetry Foundation]

2:30 — “Warning”

3:49 — from “Twigs” (stanza 3, the shortest, skipped) [see Google Books]

  • 3:49 — stanza 1
  • 5:00 — stanza 2
  • 5:33 — stanza 4
  • 6:30 — stanza 5

7:33 — poet’s introduction (English) to “The Place Itself, or I hope You Can Digest it”

8:22 — “The Place Itself…” [partially available via Google Books]

10:42 — “Nothing More” [partially available via Google Books]

13:47 — closing remarks from the poet (English)


See also 2021 article on the poet and “mystery of Palestinian happiness.”

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