Home / news / Covers of the day and night and the search for a pearl .. The journey of the Omani poet Zaher Al-Ghafri with the title

Covers of the day and night and the search for a pearl .. The journey of the Omani poet Zaher Al-Ghafri with the title

Are writers and writers inspired by the titles of their works from among the folds of lines and texts that they complete? Or does it not necessarily come literally from within the creative text? Do they start with the address or seal it? Does the writer and writer accept that the publisher puts a title for his book?

And since the title is the threshold of the text, can there be a text without a threshold, and a book without a title? Or is that impossible?

And in front of book titles and texts completed for others, did it happen that an author wished that this or that title was his creation? Then what were the first titles that surprised Arab writers and touched a chord in their souls? What is the difference between addressing poetry (for example) and addressing other literary and written genres such as novel, biography, story, diaries, criticism, research, translation, arts and sciences, etc. ..?

Is the idea of ​​intertextuality in addressing acceptable, or does the title, if placed, become the intellectual property of its writer?

Al-Jazeera Net opens this new corner “My Journey with the Title” in which Arab writers and writers talk about their stories with “The Address” and their journey with him in writing and receiving, and it is an attempt to inform the reader of some of the secrets of writing.

The guest of our session for this day is the Omani poet residing in Sweden, Zahir Al-Ghafri, who enriched the Arab Library with more than 12 poetry collections, and some of his works were translated into Spanish, English, German, Swedish, Persian, Hindi and Chinese .. So to his direct experience.

Covers day and night

If we consider that the titles are the covers of the day and the night, then the poetic title is not necessarily among the folds of the texts, for I write a text and then at the end I put the title, and for my poetry books I tried early on to put titles excluding any smell from the ideology, whatever this ideology.

A collection of poems “In Every Land A Well Dreams of a Garden” by Zahir Al-Ghafri that includes various poems, some of them short (Al-Jazeera)

“The Transient Without a Word”

I write completely freely and with white memory, so to speak. In my first group the title was “white envelopes” until my last work, “Passionless without a word,” and I will mention examples of some of my groups with regard to titles, some of them, yes, taken from the folds of a line or from the climate of all texts, such as ” Silence comes to confession, “Solitude overflowing from the night,” “Flowers in a well,” “The Five Groups,” “One Life, Many Stairs,” “Clouds over April Bridge,” “In every land a well dreams of a garden.” The title is a companion to the texts, in the form of someone indicating the nerve of what you write, so sometimes the writer finds it difficult to choose this or that of the titles.

Writer’s concern

Italian journalist Italo Calvino says that the French novelist Marcel Proust was aware of the advent of the era of contemporary technology when he wrote “The Search for Lost Time”. This work is not part of the color of the times, but rather a nerve in the form of the work itself, and thus it stems from his internal logic, from the writer’s anxiety And the extreme desire to experience what can be written within the brief life that consumes it.

Part of the soul

Of course, I do not accept that the publisher puts a title for one of my works if I am still alive, because when the poet puts it himself, it is part of his nerve, his soul and his breath.

The title may be like the registered trademark, and there are recent critical studies that go to regard the title as the first entry of the texts, but there are poets who do not put the title in their poems as the Palestinian poet Zakaria Muhammad does sometimes. The poem is the one with its title, a poetic text that begins with a word or two words or a sentence, then it becomes The title is attached to the poetic text, and this matter also needs intelligence, meaning that it is not arbitrary. Yes, the title is the threshold of the text for the reader, it is a sign to enter the texts, and it is something the critic is interested in as well.

City of Poetry

There are titles for poetry books that I liked, for example the title of the book of the poet Al-Siddiq Wadih Saadeh, “Evening has no brothers,” or the title of the late poet Sarkon Boulos’s book, “Getting to Ayna City”, both of which are among the first groups in their poetic experience.

And such titles have a captivating aesthetic and attract the reader, and if you are looking for a city where you must travel and travel permanently and meditate in places and in your steps, and yet you may not infer it because a city where the poetry itself may be, you are simply looking for poetry in the places that Your steps visit it, and thus you become like Jason the Greek in his search for the golden fleece, and Jason did not find the golden jacket until after a bitter struggle and great adventures that may take a whole life, so when Plato was thinking about the utopian city he was thinking about it poetically.

Diwan “Clouds over April Bridge” by the Omani poet who enriched the Arab Library with more than 10 collections (Al-Jazeera)

Search for a pearl

Among the titles that I clashed with at the beginning of my life and I liked it was the title “Who Rubs Rust” by the Iraqi poet Hussein Mardan (1927-1973). Take, for example, this title, which is known to be rubbing rust in kitchen utensils, and the word “rust” in Iraqi is “Zinjar”. But the title refers to rubbing the language from the heavy accumulations on it, and the poet searches for the shine, the pearl he is looking for.

Essence of the topic

Other titles come from the topics covered. Criticism, for example, is not the story, the novel, the arts, or even the sciences. There are mechanisms in choosing titles. Kafka’s novel “Al-Misakh” or “Al-Terth” according to some Arabic translations, the title appears in the framework of the fictional work, Gregory Samsa (a traveling merchant and the most important character in the novel) wakes up suddenly transformed into a cockroach, that is, he transformed into another being, but he has a human sense.


The idea of ​​intertwining in titles is the idea of ​​similarities. There are titles that are almost identical. Even Naguib Mahfouz’s title “Love Under the Rain” is similar to it in the work of other writers, and it is also found in films. Here we are not talking about intellectual property, but rather about similar approaches in Titles, out of textual content.

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