“Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry” has been published by Ithaca Press. It includes poetry translations by Dr. William Hutchins from Appalachian’s Department of Philosophy and Religion; Ghada Gherwash, a former Fulbright Teaching Fellow in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures; and Robert Hart Uhl III who studied Arabic.
Gherwash received a master’s degree in English from Appalachian in 2009. She currently is in the Ph.D. program in second-language acquisition at Purdue University. Uhl graduated from Appalachian in 2010 with a degree in political science and currently is a lecturer at Fayoum University’s Center for Translation and Languages in Egypt.
The project was Hutchins’s first foray into translating Arabic poetry. Hutchins is well known for his translations of Arabic literature, which he began in the mid-1970s when he taught Arabic at the University of Ghana at Legon.
“The book itself started at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar as a student project,” Hutchins said. “There is something heartwarming about having my students’ work appear in a book that was initiated by students’ input.”
According to the book’s editors, students in a poetry class at VCU Qatar suggested the project to address class reading lists that lacked representation from contemporary poets from the region. The anthology represents works of poets from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Hutchins has seven translations in the anthology, including one by poet Ahmed Al Ajmi whom he met in Bahrain in 2010. Al Ajmi’s poem “Enjoyment” captures a father’s joy in caressing his young son’s hair. He also translated three poems by Thani Al-Suwaidi, whose first novel “al-Dizil” also was translated by Hutchins. He describes Al-Suwaidi’s poetry as “a collage of images.”