A volume in the Poets on Poetry series, which collects critical works by contemporary poets, gathering together the articles, interviews, and book reviews by which they have articulated the poetics of a new generation.
“Like the myriad companions and comrades that he summons from their exile, Khaled Mattawa is himself a ‘poet-stranger.’ In the essays, ‘written in a poet’s prose,’ collected in How Long Have You Been With Us, Mattawa evokes a powerful amalgam of the personal intimacy of the solitary and the political challenge of solidarity.”
—Barbara Harlow, University of Texas at Austin
“If you’ve read about exile, you’ve read about Brodsky and Milosz—just as, if you’ve read about translation, you’ve read about Walter Benjamin and George Steiner. While Khaled Mattawa has mastered these masters, his essays about world literature serve as a tour of the rest of the world. He introduces you to the writers you haven’t heard of but should from contemporary Libya and colonial South Asia to Latin America and China. When Mattawa invokes Saadi Youssef or Rabinidrath Tagore, Mohja Kahf or Toru Dutt, the effect is to deprovincialize American literature.”
—Ken Chen, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop
Khaled Mattawa, an American poet of Libyan origin, explores various dynamic developments shaping American poetry as it is being practiced today. Arising from an incredibly diverse range personal backgrounds, lyric traditions, and even languages, American poetry is transforming into a truly international form. Mattawa, who also translates Arabic poetry into American English and American poetry into Arabic, explores the poetics and politics of cross-cultural exchange and literary translation that fostered such transformation. The essays in this collection also shed light on Mattawa’s development as a poet and provide numerous portraits of the poets who helped shaped his poetry.