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Ever Since I Did Not Die (The Arab List)

Ever Since I Did Not Die (The Arab List)

Current price: $15.00
Publication Date: August 5th, 2024
Seagull Books


Through seventeen powerful testimonies, Syrian-Palestinian poet Ramy Al-Asheq's Ever SInce I Did Not Die is a poignant autobiographical journey that vividly depicts what it means to live through war.

The texts gathered in Ever Since I Did Not Die by Syrian-Palestinian poet Ramy Al-Asheq are a poignant record of a fateful journey. Having grown up in a refugee camp in Damascus, Al-Asheq was imprisoned and persecuted by the regime in 2011 during the Syrian Revolution. He was released from jail, only to be recaptured and imprisoned in Jordan. After escaping from prison, he spent two years in Jordan under a fake name and passport, during which he won a literary fellowship that allowed him to travel to Germany in 2014, where he now lives and writes in exile.

Through seventeen powerful testimonies, Ever Since I Did Not Die vividly depicts what it means to live through war. Exquisitely weaving the past with the present and fond memories with brutal realities, this volume celebrates resistance through words that refuse to surrender and continue to create beauty amidst destruction—one of the most potent ways to survive in the darkest of hours.

About the Author

Ramy Al-Asheq is a Syrian-Palestinian poet, journalist, and curator based in Berlin. He has published five poetry collections in Arabic, and many of his texts have been translated and published around the world. He launched the German-Arabic magazine FANN in 2017 and was recently selected as a fellow at the Academy of Arts in Berlin and Academy Schloss Solitude.

Levi Thompson is assistant professor of Arabic at the University of Colorado–Boulder.

Praise for Ever Since I Did Not Die (The Arab List)

"[Al-Asheq's] is the voice of a survivor who knows he didn’t deserve to live more than anyone else, and who for that reason insists, passionately and with flashes of dark humor, on the value of life and love, of a naked humanity beyond any national affiliation. He rejects ideologies, identities, pieties, and the very idea of heroism. Over a heroic death, he chooses life and fear, 'the most honest feeling I’ve known and a sincere friend.' He also tries to lay to rest the traditional refugee narrative: a neat arc of suffering, survival, and salvation. For Al-Asheq and many others, living in Berlin is not a happy ending, or an ending at all. He is still trying to come to grips with his past without turning it into a sob story for Western consumption."
— New York Review of Books

"Written as a series of prose vignettes, Ever Since I Did Not Die seems to defy genre altogether, with the author determined to 'save this collection from classification.' The translation by Isis Nusair reproduces this indeterminacy in lucid prose that molds itself to the rhythms of English syntax. The collection tracks the author’s journey from Yarmouk, Syria’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, to Germany, as it chronicles war and violence as well as the blossoming and demise of the speaker’s love affair with a woman whom he weaves in and out of the narrative, as if she were a ghost or a fragment of a life left behind."
— Harriet Books (Poetry Foundation)