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Aversion, Death, Rebirth, Vanity                        

 

 

 

YAHIA LABABIDI

 

Aphorisms on Art, Morality and Spirit.

 

 

 

 
Compassion is to recognize the role we play in the creation of our enemy.

 

 

Chance is what we call our failure to understand.

 

 

There’s freedom is not needing to have an opinion on everything.

 

 

The übermensch is not superman; he is the invisible man.

 

 

We are captive to what we create.

 

Art alters the artist and, in time, recreates them in its own image.

 

 

All who are tormented by an Ideal must learn to make an ally of failure.

 

 

Every Messiah is reluctant - at least, initially.

 

 

True artists disturb the false peace, also known as complacency.

 

 

Artists are heralds. In the way a dog barks to announce imminent danger, so the artist registers an advancing stranger called Change.

 

 

Our salvation lies on the other side of our gravest danger.

 

 

The inspiration for all our art?  Mortality.

 

Reality is a rose of a thousand petals.

 

 

To travel light, leave the mind behind.

 

 

A cluttered mind makes for a poor mirror.

 

 

Mind is the handrail we clutch in the dark, for fear of falling. Yet, it's precisely this that trips us - where the stairs diverge.

 

 

Poor rational mind, it would sooner accept a believable lie than an incredible truth.

 

 

A poem should be flesh-warm, scented Spirit

 

 

 

A poem arrives like a hand in the dark. 

 

 

Intuition asks: what use are two open eyes when you're in the dark?

 

 

 

All languages are rough translations of our native tongue: the Spirit.

 

 

 

 


 

 
Yahia Lababidi is an Egyptian-American thinker and poet, nominated for a Pushcart Prize by World Literature Today magazine. He has been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, and in the Guardian, among other places.

 

Lababidi's first book SIGNPOSTS TO ELSEWHERE (Jane Street Press) was selected as a 2008 Book of the Year by The Independent (UK). "Signposts" (available as an autographed paperback only from the publishers) was followed by well-received collections of literary and cultural essays, TRIAL BY INK: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing (available electronically from Common Ground Publishing); poetry, FEVER DREAMS; and a series of literary dialogues with Alex Stein, THE ARTIST AS MYSTIC: Conversations with Yahia Lababidi. His latest is a new collection of short poems, BARELY THERE (Wipf and Stock, 2013)

 

Lababidi's writing has been translated into several languages, including: Arabic, Hebrew, Slovak, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, and Swedish. Otherwise, several video-poems based on his work, have been shown at film festivals, worldwide, while Lababidi has participated in international poetry festivals throughout the USA, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

 

He is the only contemporary Arab writer featured in the encyclopedia: Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, and the youngest poet included in the best-selling US college textbook, Literature: an Introduction to Reading and Writing (10th edition).

Lababidi was chosen as a Juror for the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature - a biennial award widely considered to be the most prestigious international literary prize after the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 

For more information, please, visit: http://www.pw.org/content/yahia_lababidi