Dive into Oceans of Arabic Poetry with "Maqsouda"

Greetings from Sowt,

We are pleased to announce the release of our new podcast Maqsouda mid-June. In this podcast, we will sail across the vastness of Arabic poetry, be it the classics or the contemporary..

Why Maqsouda?

We chose the name Maqsouda because it is derived from the word “Qasd”, which is Arabic for intention. “Maqsouda” (intended) and “Qaseeda” (poem) are some of the many derivatives of the word “Qasd”. “Qasd” also means narration, chanting, and the meaning that the poet intended. 

In this podcast, poets Zeina Hashem Beck and Farah Chamma will take uson an audio journey to explore Arabic poetry and talk about some of its anthologies, presenting them in an interactive conversation.  

Zeina says, “I have been thinking of creating a podcast about Arabic poetry for a while, but the idea never came to light. That is until my friend Farah started sending me short videos on Whatsapp, reciting poetry in her pajamas during quarantine. We both felt that we needed some smooth and audible content about poetry, so we decided to create what we needed. Maqsouda podcast aims to bring poetry closer to people and their everyday lives by making it a casual conversational topic”

Farah adds, “The Maqsouda project stems from the desire to understand and simplify Arabic poetry recitation and discussions. Having that desire harmoniously taking shape with a close friend, gives it an added layer of intimacy.”

The first season of Maqsouda will include conversations that are interspersed with poetry reading and discussions, with the aim of bringing poetry closer to people and their everyday lives and making it an easy topic to talk about.

Jana Qazzaz, Sowt’s Podcast Producer, says: “I was excited about the idea of this podcast when Zeina and Farah pitched it to us. As someone who is interested in poetry, I find that a podcast like this one would enrich Arabic audio content, especially with its casual take on Arab Poetry.”

In its first season,  Maqsouda podcast will have two episodes per week, a “discussion” episode will be aired with a “recitation” episode, and so on.

Discussion episodes will last about 20 to 30 minutes, where Zeina and Farah will choose one poem and talk about their own relationship with it, and about its general idea and how it is relevant to our everyday life. As for the recitation episodes, we will be listening to the poems of various poets whose poems were discussed.

About Sowt

An Arabic podcast company that produces and publishes high quality audio programs in Arabic since 2016.  

About Zeina Hashem Beck

Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet. Her third full-length poetry collection, O, is forthcoming from Penguin Books in Summer 2022. Her collection Louder than Hearts won the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize. She’s also the author of 3arabi Song, winner of the 2016 Rattle Chapbook prize, There Was and How Much There Was, a 2016 Laureate’s Choice selected by Carol Ann Duffy, and To Live in Autumn, winner of the 2013 Backwaters Prize. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Poetry, Ploughshares, World Literature Today, The Southeast Review, The Adroit Journal, Triquarterly, the Academy of American Poets, and elsewhere. Zeina invented The Duet, a bilingual poetic form where English and Arabic exist separately and in relationship to each other. Her poem “Maqam” won Poetry Magazine’s 2017 Frederick Bock Prize. 

About Farah Chamma

Farah Chamma is a Palestinian writer and performer. She studied Philosophy and Sociology at the Sorbonne University, and then got her master’s degree in Theatre and Performing Arts from Gold Smith University, London. She writes poetry and theatrical texts in different languages.