“I gathered these texts like someone collecting body parts. Here are the pieces of my body, haphazardly brought together in a paper bag. It looks like me with all my madness and sickness—how the revolution made me grow up, what the war broke inside me, and what exile chipped away.”
The texts gathered in Ever Since I Did Not Die by Syrian-Palestinian poet Ramy Al-Asheq are a poignant record of a fateful journey. Having grown up in a refugee camp in Damascus, Al-Asheq was imprisoned and persecuted by the regime in 2011 during the Syrian Revolution. He was released from jail, only to be recaptured and imprisoned in Jordan. After escaping from prison, he spent two years in Jordan under a fake name and passport, during which he won a literary fellowship that allowed him to travel to Germany in 2014, where he now lives and writes in exile.
Through seventeen powerful testimonies, Ever Since I Did Not Die vividly depicts what it means to live through war. Exquisitely weaving the past with the present and fond memories with brutal realities, this volume celebrates resistance through words that refuse to surrender and continue to create beauty amidst destruction—one of the most potent ways to survive in the darkest of hours.
My Heart Became a Bomb
Poems by Ramy al-Asheq; translated by Levi Thompson University of Texas Press, 2021 Library of Congress PJ7910.L27M9 2021 | Dewey Decimal 892.717
My Heart Became a Bomb is the first collection of poetry by Syrian-Palestinian poet Ramy al-Asheq to be translated into English. Poignant and raw, these poems take the reader along a path of forced emigration from Bashar al-Assad’s prisons in Syria to Amsterdam to Auschwitz to Berlin, Germany, where Al-Asheq is now creating a new home. By turns melancholy and reflective, celebratory and hopeful, Al-Asheq’s newly translated poems offer the English-reading audience a contemporary perspective on the experience of exile in a world facing the phenomeno of mass migration, whether for political or environmental reasons. The translations are the result of a long collaboration between Al-Asheq and Thompson (who also edited this collection). Raising questions about the nature of love, identity, and the role of poetry in the face of constant flux and great uncertainty, My Heart Became a Bomb introduces an important new voice to the world of contemporary poetry.