The Art of Rajaa Gharbi

The Poetry of Rajaa A. Gharbi

Bookcover of From Songs of a Grasshopper by Rajaa Gharbi

Photo by Amanda Ovena, 2006

...From Songs of a Grasshopper

A Book of selected Memoirs in Verse and Image

By Rajaa Gharbi


Gharbi’s writing and visual arts have been critically acclaimed by writers, artists and art organizers, and her book ...From Songs of a Grasshopper has been  attaining recognition as seminal work that is both refreshing and challenging in its themes as well as its aesthetics...Subject and object... brilliant, authoritative work ...From Songs of a Grasshopper is a book of selected memoirs fluidly interweaving poetry, painting and prosems* written between 1982 and 2004 in the United States, Tunisia, Morocco and Spain with color and B&W paintings exhibited during the same period. All poems in the book are simultaneously independent and connected to each other and the paintings reproduced in the book (Najib Redouane).

 ...From Songs of a Grasshopper is an uncompromised narrative that begins at the book’s front cover with Gharbi’s painting titled“Memory before the Tablet. The author meditates on Love, language, religion, exile, identity, poetry, History and the tightly woven relationship between religion and poetry as she investigates and lives them in her native country and in the United States ...The poetics of her writing embody a motion that is unpredictable...with linguistic and spiritual resonances that open the door of the wondrous and the sublime [whether she] is proposing her own re-interpretation of the History and evolution of the Arabic language, a phrase from the bible, or a verse from the Quoraan... Her words, are like blood that emerges to translate the interiority of silence...She looks into the night for what transcends space to poetic meanings that initiate an enriching dialogue.” (N.R)

* (the author’s term for her own variation on the art of Maqamaat- an age-old North African and Arabic-language literary genre).

For inquiries about the authors’ upcoming readings and for bookstore, academic or other purchases of her book ...From Songs of a Grasshopper please email  Email contact for Rajaa Gharbi

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R.Gharbi Elliott Bay Book Reading

Photo by Amanda Ovena, 2006

Excerpts from Selected written reviews and comments on Gharbi’s work

Excerpts from written reviews:

Son écriture poétique est fraiche et forte qui force l’attention et exige ses propres articulations compréhensives verbales. C’est une mise au point affectif et esthétique dans ce contexte nord-american. Mais son écriture va plus loin grace a cette quête de l’universel ... perles d’Amour... sa réflexion sur la poesie est sublime...une guerrière de la lumiére...C’est une grande joie et un immense honneur d’avoir cette ecrivaine dans Le Maghreb Litteraire...’

“Her poetic writing is fresh, powerful... it commends attention and mandates its own articulations of verb and meaning. It establishes an innovation in the emotional and the esthetic in this North American context. But her writing goes beyond [this context] thanks to her quest for the universal... Pearls of Love... Her reflections on Poetry are sublime...A warrior for light...”     -Najib Redouane, Literary critic Chief editor of the international
                                                                   Le Maghreb Litteraire

“Gharbi’s visuals read like poems. She dissects meaning and reinstates it in a narrative context that embraces forces of an intuitive nature...”
“L’art visual de Gharbi se lit comme des poèmes et ses poèmes se lisent comme de l’art visuel… Elle dissèque le sens et le reintégre dans un context de récit qui embrasse des forces d’une nature intuitive…”                    -American Artist Joe Fedderson

“…Gharbi’s poetry leaps boundaries, embraces, is personal, political and spiritual-without being “neatly” or “categorically” any one of those things…” “... This evening, with art and poetry, is indicative of the range, intertwining, and connectedness between art forms and ideas that Rajaa Gharbi explores in this beautiful new work...”

Gharbi saute des barrières, est politique et spirituelle sans ẻtre “joliement” ou “catégoriquement”  l’une ou l’autre de ces choses ... Cette soirée avec de l’art et de la poesie est indicative de la portée, de l’entrelacement et des liens entre des arts et des pensées que R. Gharbi explore dans cette belle nouvelle oeuvre” »                    
-Rick Simonson, Literary curator of the Elliott Bay Book Company

“...Tunisian-born artist/poet Rajaa A. Gharbi enthralled the audience at her poetry reading and book signing...”         

“L’artiste et poète d’origine Tunisienne Rajaa Gharbi a emerveillé l’audience pendant sa lecture et signature de livre à l’espace culturel de l’ambassade de Tunisie”...
 -The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

“… The best poetry takes a very private, particular experience and transmutes it into something that is universal; when it wears well, poetry returns to its readers when their own particular circumstances align with those universal ones… In “I-dentity”, the poetic voice employs an image – metaphor – that comes back to haunt the fortunate reader. This successful metaphor is but one of many in this delightful book of words and images”.

“…La meilleure poésie saisit une experience particulière et privée et la transmue en quelque chose d’universel. Quand cette poésie voyage bien à travers le temps qui passe, elle retourne à ses lecteurs lorsque leurs propres circonstances particulières ou privées s’alignent avec les circonstances qui sont universelles... Dans le poeme “I-Dentity” la voix poetique emploie une image-métaphore qui revient pour hanter le chanceux lecteur” .
-Dena Bugel-Shunra Literary and Judiciary Hebrew Translator, Proteus publication

Excerpts from written comments:

“...I was moved by both the scope and depth of her work.  Her strength of expression in the English language is extraordinary”.
“...J’étais touchée aussi bien par l’étendue que par la profondeur de son travail.  La force de son expression dans la langue anglaise est extraordinaire”
-Reader, Malti Greenberg

“Bon sang ne peut mentir”      -Amazigh Arnauld, Reader

“I felt privileged to hear her read her poetry” -J. Mello, Reader                                                                  

“Her work inspires greatness” -M.N. Green, Viewer

“Wonderful, thought provoking, enlightening. Thanks!”
-Rich Seibert, Reader

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