Olivia Elias

Poet of the Palestinian diaspora, born in Haifa in 1944, Olivia Elias writes in French. She lived until she was 16 years old in Lebanon where her family took refuge in 1948, then in Montréal-Canada, before moving to France. Her most recent collection in French, Chaos, Traversée was published in 2019 by la Feuille de thé. Augmented with several previously unpublished poems and bearing the title, Chaos, Crossing, the collection was published in English by World Poetry Books in 2022, in a translation by Kareem James Abu-Zeid. Characterized by terse, laconic language and strong rhythms, her poetry shows a deep sensitivity to the Palestinian cause, the plight of refugees and human suffering in general. Her work, translated into English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, has been published in numerous journals and in anthologies. A special edition chapbook of Elias’s poem Your Name, Palestine, in a translation by Sarah Riggs and Jérémy Robert, is forthcoming from World Poetry in September 2023.