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Taha Muhammad Ali

Author, Arabic
A charismatic personality and a writer of remarkable gifts, Taha Muhammad Ali lived through the many stages of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and his poetry emerged directly from the crucible of that tragedy. One of the leading poets on the contemporary Palestinian scene, he was born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya. During the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, he was forced to flee to Lebanon, together with most of the inhabitants of his village. A year later he slipped across the border with his family and, finding his village destroyed, settled in Nazareth, where he lived until his death in 2011. An autodidact, he supported himself for many years by selling souvenirs in his shop near the Church of the Annunciation. In 2008, Copper Canyon Press published So What: New & Selected Poems 1971–2005, a collection of his poetry translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin. (Photo credit: image courtesy of Alchetron)