Olivia Elias, born in Haifa in 1944, is a poet of the Palestinian diaspora who writes in French. In 1948 her family was exiled to Lebanon, where she lived until she was 16 years old. She then lived in Montreal, before finally settling in France. She published her first collection of poetry in 2015. Her third and most recent collection, Chaos, Traversée (Chaos, Crossing), appeared in 2019. Olivia Elias’ poetry is characterized by terse, laconic language, strong rhythms, and a deep sensitivity to the Palestinian cause, the plight of refugees, and human suffering in general. Her work has been published in numerous journals and in anthologies, and has been translated into English, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian. She holds Lebanese, Canadian, and French citizenship, and divides her time between Paris, Arles, and India. Her first book in English, Chaos, Crossing, will be published by World Poetry Books in fall 2022, in Kareem James Abu-Zeid’s translation.
Sign Language I & II translated by Kareem Abu-Zeid