Talking Shit

عن الحلقة

Beirut writer Lina Mounzer reads from her essay “Waste Away: Notes on Beirut’s Broken Sewage System.” We discuss the current situation in Lebanon and literature that looks at the worlds beneath our feet. 

Show Notes:

Lina Mounzer’s “Waste Away” appears in The Baffler; a slightly modified version is set to be published next week in the anthology Tales of Two Planets, ed. John Freeman.

Saleem Haddad’s “Song of the Birds,” in the anthology Palestine + 100, explores the problems of sewage at Palestinian shores. 

Rabee Jaber’s Mehlis Report, translated to English by Kareem James Abu-Zeid, tells the tale of two cities: Beirut above and Beirut below.

Mounzer’s “Translating Trash” appeared last year in The Paris Review. Also, her “The Great Ponzi Scheme” predicted a Lebanese financial disaster in the New York Times last December.

Mounzer wasn’t alone. This essay from 2017 -- “Abracadabra...broke” -- also saw a looming economic crisis. 

Ursula wrote about Lebanese protests last November in the NYR Daily: The Lebanese Street Asks: ‘Which Is Stronger, Sect or Hunger?

Favorite Lebanese literary magazines Samandal and Rusted Radishes continue to publish, although RR is re-imagining their budget and fundraising possibilities. Keep an eye out for their Patreon.

*Editor’s Note: Ursula incorrectly refers to a long-serving Lebanese prime minister. She meant Speaker of Parliament. Nabih Berri has held that position for nearly three decades.