The Spiritual Wisdom of the Desert: Reflections Outside Space & Time

Desert Songs is a slender packet of yearning, poems inspired by desert retreats in Egypt. I did not, fully, recognize at the time the nascent thirst expressed in my poetic meditations inspired by the desert. Nor could I have imagined, at the time, how the profound spiritual longing in my reflections was to, mysteriously, point for me the way towards a spiritual and religious life—a path I am exploring with wonder, and humbly deepening, nearly two decades after these profoundly impacting desert experiences. It means a great deal to me that my new poetry collection is bilingual and my words will return to the part of the world that birthed them, in its native language. I’m, especially, grateful that the Arabic is rendered by Osama Esber, a respected Syrian poet, translator and publisher whom I’m fortunate to call a friend and has, previously, translated poetry of mine for Jadaliyya. All of the remarkable photographs accompanying my poems are by a gifted young Moroccan photographer I admire, Zakaria Wakram, a kindred spirit who knows the mysticism and magic of the desert. “Desert Songs” is published by Rowayat (which means stories, in colloquial Arabic) the first English language literary journal in Egypt.

Yahia Lababidi, Egyptian-Lebanese author of ten books, has been called “our greatest living aphorist”. His prose and poetry meditations have gone viral, are used in classrooms, religious ceremonies and feature in short films shown at international festivals. Lababidi has also contributed to news, literary and cultural institutions throughout the USA, Europe and the Middle East, such as: Oxford University, Pearson, PBS NewsHour, NPR, HBO and Charter of Compassion. His latest works include: Desert Songs (Rowayat, 2021), mystical encounters in the deserts of Egypt, as well as Learning to Pray (Kelsay Books, 2021) a collection of his spiritual aphorisms and poems.

This event will be held ONLINE only.


Jan 11 2022


7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


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