February 21, 2006

ديوان (diiwaan)

from Arabic to English

ديوان can mean 'account books' or 'anthology' or 'oeuvre', but one of the more difficult meanings of the term to translate is 'collective poetic or literary tradition of a people'. Nizar Qabbani uses the term in 'A Lesson in Drawing' - 'When you grow up, my son, / and read the diwan of Arabic poetry / you'll discover that the word and the tear are twins / and the Arabic poem / is no more than a tear wept by writing fingers.'

Bob Offer-Westort
San Francisco, California, USA

Posted by dwaber at 10:55 PM