Originally from Bethlehem, the multi-cultural poet has lived in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Arab world. Author of The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology, Handal saw her book become an Academy of American Poets bestseller and won the Pen Oakland/Josephine Miles award.
An admirer of the late Palestian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Handal is also a humanist and has taken part in a number of world poetry festivals – such as the the 11th Poetry Africa Festival hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.
Her poetry collections include, The NeverField, The Lives of Rain, short-listed for The Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize/The Pitt Poetry Series. She is also the recipient of the Menada Award for the poetry CDs Traveling Rooms and Spell, and most recently, Love and Strange Horses (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010).
“I’m very much informed by the loud and silent world,” Handal once explained to the Institute of Middle East Understanding: “It’s intimate, it’s public. We dive into our fears and despairs. It tells us what we want to know and what we don’t want to hear. Poetry is the turbulence of dream and the quiet of prophet. Poetry connects us to ourselves and to our world that is its most powerful mystery. . . it is a sublime echo.”
To hear her give a poetry reading in 2008, please view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj-pwDUkuuw
Handal was selected in March 2011 by ArabianBusiness.com as one of the “100 Most Powerful Arab Women.”