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Akram Alkatreb

Akram Alkatreb is a Syrian poet, residing in New Jersey. He attended the University of Damascus, graduating with a degree in law. Alkatreb has worked as a literary critic and journalist for over two decades, with numerous contributions appearing in many major Arabic literary magazines and newspapers. He has published six poetry collections in Arabic, and one in Spanish. He has participated in many poetry festivals in the U.S. and around the world. The English translation of his poetry has been featured in Mich igan Quarterly Review, Sekka,The Red Wheel Barrow, Live Encounters, Journal of New Jersey Poets, among other avenues.

Those Who Believe They Are Dead

Those who are certain of their death,

And of air under the stones

Darken the leaning sunflowers

On the cliffs that are hit

With excessive looks.

Those who believe the sleep’s scar

– the generosity of ruins–

The jinxed names

The casualties from the darkness stuck on the world’s back.

The features are reflected

In the release of tears.

Those who believe in the patience currency,

Were burned out in the alleyway.

And without any notice,

They came carrying barrenness on miens,

The pedal of the clipped shadows under their eyelids,

The calendar of regret.

Leaning next to their postures like broken doors.

On the doorsteps

They broke the window of insomnia.

Those who believe in the easy eclipse

And in their perished lives

In the annex of void,

And the page of the white thieves.

They came early to their death

With a hoarseness and a sand clock.


Translated by Jonas Elbousty

Do You Know How Much We Love You?

We are your sons, and we are leaving the world

Do you know how much we love you

And that you are about to die?

Your body was hanging in the air for ten thousand years.

Are you still alive?

So we can meet by chance in the history books

That praise kings from the Stone Age?

Then you lose your birds, your soul, your trees, and your mother tongue.

Do you know how much we love you?


Translated by Jonas Elbousty

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