Diverse Verses: is Arabic Poetry Untranslatable or the Victim of Persistent Exclusion?

by Francesca Maria Corrao

Translating Arabic poetry is crucial in order to have an overall view of the cultural scene of Mediterranean societies. For the Arabs, poetry represents the highest means of expression and its beauty has always been a source of pride. Metaphors can convey hope and despair and relate life’s most significant events. In modern societies poetry circumvents censorship; when freedom of opinion and expression is forbidden, the poet can use metaphors to say what he/she thinks. Translating Arabic poetry is a challenge because of the peculiar structure of the language and because of the monorhyme verse that is mostly used in classical poetry. The article gives a few examples and quotes some collections of poems which have been translated into Italian.