Discussion Group: Poetry Reading with Yousif M. Qasmiyeh

In this online event, we were joined by Yousif M. Qasmiyeh for a discussion of, and reading from, his acclaimed poetry collection Writing the Camp (2021).

Writing the Camp is an exceptional, essential collection drawn from the poet's experience of the Baddawi refugee camp in Lebanon. The poetry moves beyond the observational into a philosophical meditation on the existential nature of place. Qasmiyeh asks "Where is time?", crossing the footprints of Derrida: "To experience is to advance by navigating, to walk by traversing". Writing the Camp is a brave and beautiful work, one which will surely be of historical importance.

“In Writing the Camp, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh’s ambitious and memorable sequence attends to the overheard cry, the inflicted wound, the worn threshold of home, the treachery of words. In a language forged of psalmodic music and prophetic enigmas, Qasmiyeh takes us into a metaphysical space of dislocation where love, courage and hope light flares in the darkness.” (Marina Warner)

For more information, and to purchase a copy, click here.


Yousif M. Qasmiyeh is a poet and translator whose DPhil research at the University of Oxford’s English Faculty explores containment and time in ‘refugee writing’ in English and Arabic. His collection, Writing the Camp (Broken Sleep Books, 2021), was The Poetry Book Society’s Recommendation for Spring 2021. His poetry and translations have appeared in journals and magazines including Modern Poetry in Translation, Stand, Critical Quarterly, GeoHumanities, Cambridge Literary Review, and PN Review. Yousif is Creative Encounters Editor of the Migration and Society journal, Writer-in-Residence of the Refugee Hosts research project, and Joint Lead of the Imagining Futures Baddawi Camp Lab.