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“…Such a translucent basin, sculpted pearl!
Argentic ripples are added on it by the quiet dew
And its liquid silver goes over the daisies, melted, and even purer.
Hard and soft are so close, that it would be hard to distinguish
liquid and solid, marble and water. Which one is running?
Don’t you see how water overflows the borders
and the warned drains are here against it?
They are like the lover who in vain
tries to hide his tears from his beloved…”

Ibn Zamrak on the Court of Lions of the Alhambra.

The Court of Lions is a collaborative effort from several poets to share and comment on a mutual love of words interpreted through the prism of Islam.

Biographies

Rafael Alejandro Jara was born in Santiago de Chile to Chilean and French-American parents. He studied English Literature at the University of Miami. He embraced Islam in 2002 and in 2007 entered the Shadhili Sufi Order.

Ars Poetica: Poetry is patterned or measured verse, but is best fulfilled in evoking the universal within the particular. Art should return to contemplation and the discovery of the familiar.

Tiel Aisha Ansari is an American Sufi, poet, martial artist, and data programmer. But that’s not important; read the poems.

Ars Poetica: Short version, long version.

Khalid Gareth Williams was born in 1983 in Leeds, England to Welsh parentage. He entered Islam in 2001, studied Arabic at university, moved to Morocco upon graduation, and currently works as a translator and occasional English teacher.

Ars Poetica: Why do I write poetry? I suppose there are two reasons: first I love language and the idea of words in the right places, and secondly I love to read poetry, but sometimes there’s a poem I’d like to read but it doesn’t exist, so I am forced to write it in order to read it – I seldom succeed in carving the entire sculpture out of the stone block, but it’s enjoyable just to try and get as much of it out as possible without breaking it.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore was born in 1940 in Oakland, California, Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore’s first book of poems, Dawn Visions, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964, and the second in 1972, Burnt Heart/Ode to the War Dead. He created and directed The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company in Berkeley, California in the late 60s, and presented two major productions, The Walls Are Running Blood, and Bliss Apocalypse. He became a Sufi Muslim in 1970, performed the Hajj in 1972, and lived and traveled throughout Morocco, Spain, Algeria and Nigeria, landing in California and publishing The Desert is the Only Way Out, and Chronicles of Akhira in the early 80s (Zilzal Press). Residing in Philadelphia since 1990, in 1996 he published The Ramadan Sonnets (Jusoor/City Lights), and in 2002, The Blind Beekeeper (Jusoor/Syracuse University Press). He has been the major editor for a number of works, including The Burdah of Shaykh Busiri, translated by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, and the poetry of Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Munir Akash. He is also widely published on the worldwide web: The American Muslim, DeenPort, and his own website and poetry blog, among others: www.danielmoorepoetry.com, www.ecstaticxchange.wordpress.com. The Ecstatic Exchange Series is bringing out the extensive body of his works of poetry, available through his website, or Amazon.com, etc.

Ars Poetica: For me the province of poetry is a private ecstasy made public, and the social role of the poet is to display moments of shared universal epiphanies capable of healing our sense of mortal estrangement— from ourselves, from each other, from our source, from our destiny, from The Divine.

Seth Laffey was born in Kansas in 1978 and was raised in New Jersey.  He was enthralled by poetry and fiction and all works of imagination at a very early age, though he specifically remembers that it was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Lord of the Rings that turned him into a really avid reader when he was a young boy.  He studied English and American literature at Rider University (BA, 2001), and at Ohio University (MA, 2007).  At present, he is working as an ESL instructor at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio.  He embraced Islam in 2003.

Former Members:

Kaosar, nom de plume Raatkiranii, is the sole blogger of Bazm-e-Tasavuart. Aside from her major in Psychology, her other major interests lie in Islam, history, literature, photography and culture. Her two favorite hobbies are reading and writing.

Ars Poetica: inspired by Abdur Rahman’s idea on writing about the craft of poetry, The Artistic Craft of Poetry is Kaosar’s take on what poetry means to her.

Abdur Rahman: I am an English Muslim, originally from the East End of London, now living in the beautiful valleys of South Wales. I am interested in Islam (in all its forms), Sufism, the religious traditions of the world and all that inspires me to be more than I am. I work in a university in South Wales, UK. I have been an ‘out of the closet’ Muslim for 10 years.

Ars Poetica: For me, poetry is the art of creative failure! It is the human art of describing infinitude in these beautifully fallible things we call words.

Let it be known, wanderer, this is a realm of lions.  However, if you feel eager for the challenge, we might find a place for you among us.  That is no guarantee that you will be accepted; even when hunting for words, numbers can be a liability.  If you are truly interested in making a commitment then please e-mail your name, a brief biography, a short exposition on your views pertaining to poetry, and a sample of three of your poems with annotations to rafael.alejandro.jara at gmail.com.

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