Ahmad Almallah

Downgraded to scribble (PoemTalk #178)

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For this PoemTalk episode about Matvei Yankelevich’s book of poems (or book-length poem), Dead Winter (Fonograf, 2022), Al Filreis convened Kevin Platt, Huda Fakhreddine, and Ahmad Almallah to discuss four poems/sections from the work: “Winter comes calling” (p. 7), “Winter have I lost your thread?” (12), “In a disjunctive age, disconsolate, without connection” (21), and “Winter and one more mine is the other guilt” (27). Our recording of these poems was made by Matvei just for PoemTalk and is available now at his PennSound page. (That PennSound author page, by the way, already includes a video recording of a conversation with Matvei himself about Dead Winter — joined by Kevin, Ahmad, and Al as well as a dozen or so of Ahmad’s students.)

Teach us love (PoemTalk #171)

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Al Filreis convened Matvei Yankelevich, Ahmad Almallah, and Kevin Platt at the Kelly Writers House to talk about two poems by Eugene Ostashevsky: “The Anatomy of Monotony” [audio] and “Language” [audio]. They were included in The Unraveller Seasons (2000). The recordings of the two poems we use in this episode come from a 2005 reading at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, available at Ostashevsky’s PennSound page

The gaps I mean (PoemTalk #146)

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Stephen Metcalf (famed host of the Slate Culture Gabfest), Anna Strong Safford (ModPo coordinator and coteacher), and Ahmad Almallah (author of Bitter English) joined Al Filreis to talk about one of the most well known poems in English of the twentieth century — Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall.” What hasn’t already been said about this poem? Well, to our ears at least, this conversation goes in several unusual and, we think, fascinating new directions. What exactly is the nature of the poem’s (or anyway the speaker’s) cultural conservatism? Can the wall really be read geopolitically? Is it more about what is being walled out than walled in?

Review of Ahmad Almallah's 'Bitter English'

Review of Ahmad Almallah, Bitter English (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019), 87 pp.

Note: This review was given as an introduction to Almallahs reading at the Kelly Writers House on October 15, 2019.

Laying poems away (PoemTalk #137)

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Ahmad Almallah: Finding the way between

In new poems Ahmad Almallah seeks not a way that is mapped or directed. Nor does he follow a course. His way — his poetic mode and compositional method — is to be scrappily “on the move” (as he writes in a new work), “the metal collecting / the way on the way.” The metapoetic nonnarrative gesture here is primarily aesthetic, of course (Almallah is a poet first and foremost — in intention, vocation, and desire), but the recalcitrant formal heterodoxy seems to be at the same time never an artist’s choice (I’m guessing he hates that MFA-program cliché) so much as an inexorable expression of obsessive topical urgency.

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