Latest News:
  • Welcome to ALT Magazine & Press: Hazawi Prize Announces 2023 Shortlist: (Sana'a, Yemen) - The shortlist for the 2023 Hazawi Prize for Yemeni Literature has been revealed, announcing the ten writers who have been selected as finalists for this prestigious award.
  • Now in its second yearly round, the Hazawi Prize recognizes exceptional contributions to fiction in Yemeni literature. Organized by the Hazawi Cultural Foundation, this annual prize aims to promote Yemeni literature and support creative writers.
  • This year's shortlist features both emerging and renowned Yemeni authors. The ten works advancing to the final round of judging are:
  • - Abdullah Faisal shortlisted for his novel, Spirits and Secrets.
  • - Aisha Saleh shortlisted for her novel, Under the Ashes
  • - Farouk Merish shortlisted for his novel, A Dignified Stranger
  • - Ahmed Ashraf shortlisted for his novel, A Painful Belt
  • - Ghassan Khalid shortlisted for his novel, A Sky that Rains Fear
  • - Hosam Adel shortlisted for his novel, The Lord of the Black Dog
  • - Asmaa Abdulrazak shortlisted for her novel, Shrapnels
  • - Abdullah Abdu Muhammad shortlisted for his novel, The Road to Sana'a
  • - Najah Bahkeim shortlisted for her novel, The Final Decision
  • - Samir AbdulFattah shortlisted for her novel, What We Cannot See
  • The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in Sana'a later where they will receive $1,500 USD. Second and third prizes of $1,000 USD each will also be awarded. All shortlisted works are celebrated for chronicling Yemen's rich culture and wartime experiences. This prestigious prize continues highlighting the nation's thriving literary community.

Oh, Dwellers on the Shelf of Absence

Oh, dwellers on the shelf of absence

by Naji Atayh

translated by Hatem Al-Shamea



Oh, dwellers on the shelf of absence, is it not

Time for your return, after this long neglect?

Long have we stood upon the reasons for your return,

Our spirits behind us, savoring the pain.


How long shall time’s wandering accompany you,

Like madmen, oh our companions of old?

I fear that things will lose their form,

And find no hand or foot around them.


I fear that oblivion will cloud my memory,

Or that my existence will become like nothingness.


The mansions of dreams, their structure lies in ruin,

And every step towards reality has met with collision.

This land, where corruption has wreaked havoc,

In it, every right that was once respected has vanished.


From it, the power of the eye has turned away, as it sits

On the sidewalk, selling bread and pens,

As if it had never laid its head

On the ground of honor, nor reached for the heights of nobility.


Time has brought forth evil, its hand has closed,

Either to spread ugliness or to spill blood.


Do not ask patience to restrain its breaths,

For the sea has not concealed a secret as it has concealed it.


In an instant, addiction stole hearts,

Revealing enough weakness to be defeated.


We are those who stood firm in rising,

On our names, when the situation was heating up.


We fear not war upon our homeland,

Nor do we fear the expanse of deprivation,

Nor that nothingness will consume us.


But we fear waking up to a Yemen,

Before us, burying customs and values.


Do well by those you have raised, oh my father,

Lest kindness return to you as vengeance.


Oh, clay pure in the palace of the soul,

It passed over my open wound, and it healed.

With your steps, the world embraced its smile,

No day remained sullen-faced when it smiled.


If the fingers of the wound bite their regret,

Do not ask me why I refuse regret.


If justice has fled its homeland,

How can we defend our pages from accusations?


In Proof that I Am Not Dead – Yaseen Al-Bukali – trans. Hatem Al-Shamea

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart