Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet with a BA and an MA in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. She won the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize for her second full-length collection, Louder than Hearts (April 2017), about which Naomi Shihab Nye wrote, “Everything Arabic we treasure comes alive in these poems. Readers will feel restored to so many homes, revived, amazed. Zeina Hashem Beck writes with a brilliant, absolutely essential voice.” Zeina is also the author of two 2016 chapbooks: 3arabi Song, selected from 1720 manuscripts as winner of the 2016 Rattle Chapbook Prize, and There Was and How Much There Was, chosen by Carol Ann Duffy, who praised her “remarkable gift for storytelling” in this pamphlet rich with women’s voices. Zeina’s first book, To Live in Autumn, centered on Beirut, won the 2013 Backwaters Prize and was a runner-up for the 2014 Julie Suk Award.
Zeina’s poem, “Maqam,” won Poetry Magazine‘s 2017 Frederick Bock Prize. Her work has won Best of the Net, has been selected from Bettering American Poetry 2016, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Forward Prize. Her poetry has been featured on Poetry Daily and Inpress Books’s Poem of the Week, and has appeared widely in literary magazines, among which are Ploughshares, Poetry, The Rialto, World Literature Today, River Styx, Boulevard, Ambit, and Poetry Northwest.
Zeina’s writing covers a variety of topics: Arab culture, home, exile, family narratives, language, identity, female voices, and religion. Her poetry often exists at the intersections of the personal & the political, the divine & the profane, the self & the other. She is interested in poetry that witnesses, resists the orientalist’s gaze, creates small bridges, and insists on loving the broken world, on the power of song even in the dark times. Educated in Arabic, English, and French, her poems are often reflections on linguistic and cultural translation. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Dubai, where she has founded and hosts a Dubai-based open mic night called PUNCH. Her readings have a strong performative quality, and she performs her poetry both in the Middle East and internationally.
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(Photo Credit: Hind Shoufani)