Essays, Reminiscences, and Poems
edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi with Zafar Ishaq Ansari
6" x 9" • 352 pages • b&w photos • maps
ISBN 9781566565493 • paperback • $20.00 •
Here is a passionate and eclectic collection of essays, poems, and scholarship that brings to life Jerusalem, that most enigmatic and compelling of cities, in its embattled, contemporary guise as well as in its ancient history. The book begins in the immediacy of today’s Jerusalem—with its dispossessions and laws, its bloody conflicts and massive skyscrapers—and moves backward in time to Classical Jerusalem, working to disentangle the knots of the three great monotheistic religions, and finally comes to rest in a section that is a testament to the physical facts of Jerusalem: its monuments and alleys, its smells, its music, its people.
Throughout it all, the Jerusalem that emerges is, as Mureed Barghouthy puts it, “the Jerusalem of the people,” for it is the people who live or have lived there, who know the “Jerusalem of houses and cobbled streets and spice markets… of our neighbor the nun and her neighbor the muezzin, who was always in a hurry.” Tellingly, the anthology begins and ends with the words of poets: “I’m not interested in / Who suffered the most,” writes Naomi Shihab Nye in the introductory poem. “I’m interested in /People getting over it.”
This book is about a beloved Jerusalem whose intricacies and human inventions are ultimately larger than the current conflict.
Olive Branch Press
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