Woman of Mint


This is the first part of a sequence of four poems, the others being 'Woman of Grapes', 'Woman of Coffee' and 'Woman of Almonds'. Like the other poems of Fatena's we've translated, it's very highly charged and erotic.

Poetry in English is filled with poems that use plants to articulate gender. By and large, it's men poets who continually compare women to fragile, delicate flowers (think of Robert Herrick's numerous poems - but see also Emily Dickinson's celebration of the clover, 'There is a Flower the Bees Prefer'. (For a discussion of the poetry of plants in relation to gender, see the Introduction to Flora Poetica: The Chatto Book of Botanical Verse, by Sarah Maguire).

It's fascinating to witness a woman poet writing in Arabic using a 'feminine' mint plant and a 'masculine' nettle to express her feelings about gender.