STEEP TEA: Suzan Alaiwan
She writes in Arabic. Her poems in the anthology are characterized by an appealing gnomic wisdom. In "Poems," she wrote, as translated by Sayed Gouda, "When we stumble over a stone, / it guides us." The line played in my mind for quite a while. I wanted to respond to it both playfully and seriously, so I took the words "stumble," "stone" and "guides" and spun variations on them, and wrote my "Fall: Five Poems." It was first published by Pirene's Fountain as "Five Poems." You can find it on-line.
At the time, influenced by the short Japanese forms, I was writing a lot of one-line poems. I was pleased to discover that Suzan Alaiwan, who is also a painter, acknowledges the inspiration of Japanese art. She posts her art on a blog, and many of her works are accompanied by short poems. The art, faux-naïf in style, glows with candy colors. The photo of her is from her blog. She has published ten books of poems since 1994. A prolific artist!