© 2016 . All rights reserved.

Maged Zaher reads from The Consequences of my Body

A year or so ago, I saw Maged Zaher read at the Poetry Project on a Wednesday night. Because I taught classes Monday and Wednesday evenings, I missed most of the readings, though sometimes things worked out. He read from a little chapbook called Sugar break where each poem had a punch like the poetry of Stephen Crane has a punch, or a Sufi tale, Hadja perhaps, whom in my imagination Maged resembled. Although I intended to get that chapbook, it never made it into my hands so when I heard that Nightboat Books was having a book signing at an art gallery on Delancey, and he was among the readers, I decided to go there.

The Consequences of My Body is a beautiful book to look at and hold. Minimal gold. Maged did not read long, confident that his work was good and didn’t need much to promote it. He left the crowd wanting more. Maged is from Cairo and lives in Seattle now, a software engineer. You don’t need to be born speaking English to write it well. The learner sees opportunities in a language that the native speaker, who’s heard and spoken it from birth and doesn’t need to know the rules, is oblivious to. Maged reads with a melodious accent, a modern man in an ancient land, an ancient man in a modern one. His translations of Arabic love poets are everything you could hope for.

I was happy when Maged agreed to come over to my place and record what he had read on Delancey. To be doing the business of poetry meant he was not a tourist but a viable part of New York, and I was happy to welcome him and The Consequences of My Body into my home.











Published by Nightboat Books:


Christy Davids, Philadelphia poet and teacher, interviews the poet and translator in the Conversant talking about, among many things, poetry, love, and politics:


Maged Zaher and The Consequences of My Body

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 3.23.28 PM

Leave a Reply