Amina Abdalla Hassan – Usually

Hassan LE Arab Women P&W April 2024

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Live Encounters Arab Women Poets & Writers April 2024.

Usually, poems by Amina Abdalla Hassan.

Translated from Arabic by Dr. Salwa Gouda. 


I am only read by strangers and travelers
As if we were one tribe
One of us sniffs the other
Smell and the scent turn and bring us closer
As a family with history of intimacy
Even if they are just eye contact
That visual memory creates
Relationships in my life.

The enigmatic woman

Approaching or photographing is prohibited
You write about her with caution
She is the closest
To the emotions of the Eastern man
The enigmatic woman
A creature not accessible to those close
Easier than the complexities of eloquence
And the construction of poets
And the dreams of young musicians
This woman
Becomes a god of love that
Everyone denies

As a man

You do not know how to love a woman who loves details
She goes with you to the supermarket
She picks up things she does not often buy and does not like
But you might miss them
The woman who loves details is very self-critical
If the jar of hazelnut coffee runs out
If she failed to make the unknown smoked salt for us
She does not like alcohol during intimacy
The woman who loved you with such attention to detail
Does not expect your famous word “grateful” – that’s the worst thing to say –
Because she is more appreciative than you for her ability to do seemingly trivial
She is thankful for the sigh over a pot of green soup mixed with a kiss that thaws
Her frozen heart
Grateful for the sound of your mother bridging the gap between you both
As a mysterious man
You cut the vein without ceremony or praise
And that goes against the rules of sacrifice.

© Amina Abdalla Hassan

Amina Abdalla Hassan (1972) is an Egyptian writer and poet who has published six collections of poetry. She is also a prominent writer in The New Culture magazine published in Egypt.

Translation by Dr. Salwa Gouda, an Egyptian literary translator, critic, and academic at the English Language and Literature Department at Ain-Shams University. She holds a PhD in English literature and criticism. She received her education at Ain-Shams University and California State University in San Bernardino. She has published several academic books, including “Lectures in English Poetry, and “Introduction to Modern Literary Criticism” and others. She has also contributed to the translation of “The Arab Encyclopedia for Pioneers,” which includes poets and their poetry, philosophers, historians, and men of letters, under the supervision of UNESCO. Additionally, her poetry translations have been published in various international magazines.

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