Nizar Sartawi- Jordan

NizarSartawi’s Bio

Nizar Sartawi is a poet, translator and educator. He was born in Sarta, Palestine, in 1951. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Jordan, Amman, and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from the University of Minnesota, the U.S. Sartawi is a member of the Jordanian Writers Association and General Union of Arab Writers. He has participated in poetry readings and festivals in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine.
Sartawi’s first poetry collection, Between Two Eras, was published in Beirut, Lebanon in 2011. His translations include: The Prayers of the Nightingale (2013), poems by Indian poet Sarojini Naidu; Fragments of the Moon (2013), poems by Italian poet Mario Rigli; The Souls Dances in its Cradle (2015), poems by Danish poet NielsHav; all three translated into Arabic; Contemporary Jordanian Poets, Volume I (2013); The Eyes of the Wind (2014), poems by Tunisian poet FadhilaMasaai;The Birth of a Poet (2015), poems by Lebanese poet Mohammad IkbalHarb. He is currently working on a translation project, Arab Contemporary Poets Series.
Ssartawi’s poems and translations have been anthologized and published in books, journals, and newspapers in Arab countries, the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, Italy, the Philippines, and India.

Three Poems

1. the hermit

a quirky quiver
of awkward spasms
and there I was
whistling my livid protests
at a choir of cloaked shadows
who’d been
so weirdly
on dragging me
out of my soupy sojourn –
a cozy, warm dwelling
fit for a hermit

a mighty ghost grabbed me
slapped me
wrapped me
trapped me
like a pow
in a tiny cell
or was it a cage?

that was a long, long time ago

and now here
i am
a loner still
a prisoner of peace
a happy hermit in a happy
little hut


2. A bouquet of haiku

in the afternoon
his rendezvous with her
and her shadow too

~ ~ ~

standing in the park
behind a little cabin
two shadows kissing

~ ~ ~

on your way windstorm
bring dust and leaves and paper
and letters for me

~ ~ ~

suddenly a whirlwind
the poems i wroteoutdoors
delivered to heaven

~ ~ ~

the almond tree
blossoms falling falling
the child still swinging

~ ~ ~

in the olive grove
singing aloud all night long
with the cicadas

~ ~ ~

eyes and nose missing
scarf and crochet at his feet
poor little snowman

~ ~ ~

gods of the olymp
the times they are a changin’[1]
time to topple zeus


3. Plato

Thank you
for not including us in
your revolutionary city project
for not letting us play a tune
recite poetry
or prose
write a line
utter an alphabetical letter
or even breathe

Thank you
for not permitting us to build a home
open a store
till the land
grow wheat olives willows
or roses

Thank you
for not granting us membership in
the Republican Party
for not allowing poets to open
an account
in the bank of your great state
or become members in your exclusive club
of the rational

Thank you
for sentencing us to exile
contrary to poets’ rights…
And so we came out
narrating and imitating
that we may not dry in that painting
within your walls
Thank you…


[1]a famous 1964 song by Bob Dylan