Inkstains on the Edge of Light
This is the second poetry book of mine to be published. Below, you will find the introduction my Lebanon and Middle East publisher, Zena El Khalil, kindly wrote. The book is in four chapters titled, Death, Life, Home and Lust and is over 300 pages long. The foreword was generously written by Jean Said Makdissi. It is available for sale in major bookstores in Beirut and Dubai. Cover design by our brilliant Danielle Kattar.
Introduction by xanadu*
The first time I met Hind Shoufani, I understood that she carried a heavy burden.
Why else adorn oneself in a multitude of colors, a crystal that broke off and fell from the edge of a rainbow. Why else choose to wear fabrics that glide and flow; ready, ready to take flight at any given moment. Why else hide behind vibrant glitter; reflecting the sun, the moon… becoming one with light.
All this softness, all this… is a disguise.
Because at the root lies a fiery woman who has been burdened with a strong voice. Her swift pen etches us blistering songs, as she tries to find balance in the tumultuous whirlwinds around her. You see, Hind has been chosen to tell the story of her people and her world. Her place and her time. Even if she didn’t want to. Even if she tried not to. She could not but do so.
Hind Shoufani, born a refugee, is burdened with the weight of being an educated and exceptional woman, from Palestine. She is burdened with the weight of being a storyteller of her generation. Stories of her homeland, slipping through her fingers. Her father, disheartened and shattered. Her mother, inspirational but deceased. Her lovers, flighty, unable to hold her down. Her present reality, torn and reconstructed over and over again. Like her heart. Like Beirut.
Her burden is her voice, strong and clear. Her ability to spill onto paper her rage, affection and her love. Her burden is her fervent desire to outplay death. To find life. To find a home. To find love. She is not afraid to sing. She is not afraid to question. Not afraid to question America. Not afraid to question Israel. Not even afraid to question present-day Palestine.
Hind Shoufani is burdened with the responsibility of being the memory box of her family. Collecting stories, ideas, history and life. Recording her father, recording her mother, keeping her sister at close hand. Finding Palestine, losing Palestine. She will not let go of her dead.
Her words are witness to histories from the world around her. The attacks on Mumbai. The stoning to death of a young Arab woman. Beirut when there was still Modca. The hazy deserts surrounding Dubai. The mystery and stagnation of Damascus. You will meet depressed and metaphysical Beiruti citizens. You will meet a tarot card reader. You will meet cancer. You will meet organs for sale in Israel. You will meet jasmine and Yasmine. The New York subway. You will meet men and women of the world who still know how to laugh and cry. There are revolutions and a guidebook to forgetfulness. You will meet genocide and religion and all that may not happen.
xanadu* is proud to be publishing Hind Shoufani’s second book of poetry, standing firm to our belief that art and literature can make positive changes around the world. We are committed to supporting artists and writers, like Hind, who take personal initiatives to build bridges in order to make this world a truly beautiful place. Now, more than ever, her voice is needed. Her grace, tact, and often blunt declarations, will give readers a fresh insight on what it means to be young, beautiful, and courageous in the Middle East. Her sharp words never forgot how to forgive. Her heart writhing, never forgot how to love. She speaks for herself and for those who cannot. She speaks a language that is urgent. She speaks of the here and now. She is global. This nomad is at home in New York City, in Beirut, in Amman, in Damascus, in Jerusalem, in Dubai, anywhere.
And it is in this stratum that we can come to appreciate that Hind’s burden is really Hind’s gift.
Hind is here to stay. She will not let go of her dead. She will not let go of her dead.
Zena el Khalil