Mazen Maarouf is a Palestinian-Icelandic poet and writer, lauded as a “rising international literary star”. He has published three collections of poetry: The Camera Doesn’t Capture Birds, Our Grief Resembles Bread, and most recently An Angel Suspended On The Clothesline, which has been translated into several languages including into French by Samira Negrouche (Amandier Poésie, 2013). His work is currently being translated into English by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and Nathalie Handal. Maarouf has read in festivals, universities, museums and cultural centers in Europe, the United States and the Middle East. He has written literary and theatre criticism in various Arabic magazines and newspapers namely An-Nahar and Assafir (Lebanon), Al-Quds-el-Arabi (London) and Qantara (Paris); and he has translated numerous Icelandic poets as well as the following novels in Arabic: The Blue Fox by Sjón, Hands of my Father by Myron Uhlberg, The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snær Magnason and Dwarfstone by Aðalsteinn Ásberg. He resides in Reykjavik.

16 thoughts on “biography/email

  1. Salam, Mazen

    As an Egyptian poet, based in the US, it is heartening to see your piece ‘The Poetry of Revolution’ in Al Jazeera, as well as your profile in their inspiring Poets of Protest series.

    As a fellow believer in the transformative power of words, kindly find below a short poem I wrote 3 days into the Egyptian Revolution: “What is to give Light” (poem) (video)

    Also, below is a more recent essay where I reflect on the role of poetry in times of crisis:

    I hope you enjoy these and wish you continued success in your art as witness and resistance!

    Warmly, Yahia

    • Salam Yehia
      I apologize for replying you so late.. I am glad to get in contact with you and thanks for the nice poems dear..I wish you all the very best (والثورة مستمرة)
      warmest regards

  2. I just watched ‘artscape’ on Aljazeera where your work and your struggle as a Palestinian was featured. I am rarely moved to make such a comment, but did so on this occasion. I was humbled by the expression of your struggle rendered into poetry. Here in the United States we are often isolated from the cares of the wider world. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to glimpse a brief look into your world.
    Gregg Cure`
    The University of Arizona
    Tucson, Arizona

    • Dear Gregg
      I am so glad to get this message from you and I am sorry for being late in replying you. Life shifts us sometimes away from many different things. well my friend, I don’t know if I can consider my issue as a materialization of a “struggle”.. may be. But I agree with you about the politics but this is the spirit of politics and I say not only one powerful country being isolated from the others but also many other “less powerful” countries are doing the same with their own people. I always feel disrupted whenever talking politics. also whenever throwing an eye on the world. quite exhausting. I will be glad to get in contact with you, who knows, if I get the chance one day to visit the states we may meet!
      I wish you a good day

  3. I am a student at Newcastle University, England, studying third year Sociology and embarking on my independent Dissertation. The topic I have selected for this is “Palestine/Israel: Art and Conflict”. I am hoping to collect first hand data on how artists see their role in the conflict through interviews or short questionnaires. My research into your work, including watching your Al Jazeera documentary, suggests your interest and involvement as an artist in the conflict. If you would be at all interested in joining in my study, please send me and email and I will send you further information.
    I understand if you yourself would be not interested in participating but it would be really useful if you could recommend someone in a similar artistic position that would be.

    • Hello K
      I am sorry for my so late answer, I’ve been busy lately. That’s very interesting subject what you’re doing. I will be glad to get involved if still any chance. can you give me your email to send you a message?

      • Hi Mazen

        Thank you so much for getting back to me. It is definitely not too late to get involved in my study. I was wondering if we could have a small Skype interview, however, I understand that you are very busy so I could create a small questionnaire for you to fill in, which would take less time. Either way I’m sure your contribution would really help my project. My email is

        Many thanks again


    • thank you Mitchell..
      I appreciate your comment though i’ve been thinking lately that i might have removed some details..
      but your comment is a driving force to the opposite decision :)

  4. I am a keen supporter of the Palestinian cause and peace with Israel I. always found the Palestinians to be open-minded and creative .Arab contemporary poetry in general is so beautiful with such a strong message .It speaks with the heart from the heart.We are so eurocentrist and western-centrist in our view(I am from Eastern Europe)…Keep up the wonderful work

    • Dear Pagford,
      thank you for your words. i think we all need peace, but i also think it is under the recent conditions, almost impossible. however, poetry and arts in general can still bear the secret keys of an individual peace, and every poetry has it is special aesthetics (if it is good enough).. with you a nice evening wherever you are! :)

  5. Border regimes not only block the free movement of people, separating families – they also block the free movement of ideas, and the dialogue between languages and cultures.

    Palestinian-Lebanese poet and journalist Mazen Maarouf, awarded international protection in Iceland last year after having received death threaths in Beirut, was due to travel from Reykjavík to Abu Dhabi, via London, in order to attend a literary translation conference. Hours after the start of his journey, Heathrow Airport would not let Mazen board the second plane, and he was forced to return to Iceland. His mother had travelled from Lebanon to Abu Dhabi to see him.

    yoU-Turn: back to Reykjavík
    Mazen Maarouf, Iceland

    At 7:40 am the plane takes off from Keflavík (Iceland). First destination: London. Final destination is supposed to be Abu Dhabi: I am invited to participate in a translation conference there. A great opportunity to learn, also to meet writers, poets, publishers and friends I haven’t seen since I left Beirut. (…)

  6. Dear Mazen,

    I saw your work featured on Al Jazeera. I really dig the work you do. I coordinate a reading series at NYU Shanghai, and we would like to invite you. I’ve searched the internet for your contact info, but maybe I did not do such a good job at finding it. Is there an email where I can contact you? You can reach me at

    My best to you,
    Daniel Cuesta

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