The Bedouin, or 'desert dwellers', have a rich cultural heritage often expressed through music and poetry. Here, Moneera Al-Ghadeer provides us with the first comparative reading of women's oral poetry from Saudi Arabia. She examines women's lyrics of love, desire, mourning and grievance. We come to understand Bedouin mores and - most significantly - the unique description of a desert that is consistently held to be infinite, evocative, stimulating and an eternal freedom. As the first English translation and analysis of this poetry, "Desert Voices" is both a gesture to preserving the oral poetic tradition of Bedouin women and a radical critique addressing the exclusion of their poetry from current academic literary studies. The book provides invaluable material for reflection in the debates around oral culture and women's poetic composition while it translates, presents and critically examins a genre, which opens Arabic poetry and literature to contemporary theory and criticism.
Professor Moneera Al-Ghadeer received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and is now an Associate Professor in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and includes postcolonial studies, feminist philosophy, literary theory and literary translation. She has received a number of fellowships and awards from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin, Madison along with a postdoctoral fellowship from Emory University.