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Leon Craig
Leon Craig is a writer and editor based in Berlin. She has written for the TLS, the Literary ReviewAnother Gaze and the London Magazine among others. Her queer gothic short story collection Parallel Hells is published by Sceptre Books and she is currently working on her first novel The Decadence.

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Cosy Violence

Book Review

June 2023

Leon Craig

Book Review

June 2023

The 22 year old Australian narrator of K Patrick’s sensuous, subversive debut novel is a long way from home. A matron at an unnamed...

Fiction

September 2021

Lick the Dust

Leon Craig

Fiction

September 2021

When you misplace something in the library here, it stays lost for a very long time. The eighteenth-century catalogue...

1 SAND AND SNOW   He is a warrior prince He hunts in the deserts of central Arabia He drinks and carouses with his companions, and pursues scandalous love affairs When his father banishes him for his bad behaviour, he becomes even more reckless, an outlaw At the news of his father’s death, he shrugs, he goes on playing backgammon Afterwards, however, he gets riotously drunk and embarks on a campaign of vengeance that will absorb the remainder of his short life He is the greatest poet of his age According to legend, he is slain by a treacherous gift from the Emperor Justinian: a poisoned robe   He is Imru al-Qays, the Man of Misfortune, the Wandering King He composes a stunning poem, known as his Muallaqa, or ‘Hanging Ode’, one of a handful of pre-Islamic poems so precious they were said to have been inscribed in gold and hung on the walls of the Kaaba Luminous language, imperishable lines The poem’s opening phrase, Qifa nabki – ‘Stop, let us weep’ – signals a traditional scene, in which the poet surveys the ruins of his beloved’s campsite This trope was already conventional in the poet’s time, produced by a nomadic Bedouin culture: the common experience of coming across the traces of an abandoned camp became, for poets, an occasion for mourning the loss of a real or imagined woman With Imru al-Qays, the old theme finds its most powerful and lasting expression, so that his Muallaqa becomes its exemplar Qifa nabki Stop, let us weep A call to pause, to dismount, to come down to earth, to face the signs of destruction and loss, and to weep in torrents In Arabic poetics, this classical motif is known as al-waqf ala al-atlal: ‘standing at the ruins’   Stop, let us weep for the memory of a lover and a home, at the edge of the twisting sands between al-Dakhul and Hawmal, between Tudih and al-Miqrat The traces have not yet been erased by the weaving of the north and south winds   In the courtyards and enclosures you can see the dung of gazelles scattered like peppercorns   On the day

Contributor

April 2016

Leon Craig

Contributor

April 2016

Leon Craig is a writer and editor based in Berlin. She has written for the TLS, the Literary Review, Another Gaze and the London Magazine among...

Art Review

April 2019

Oscar Wilde Temple, Studio Voltaire

Leon Craig

Art Review

April 2019

The light is dim, the air richly scented. Little purple tea lights flicker in the votive candle rack and...

[Getting] Down with Gal Pals

Feature

November 2018

Leon Craig

Feature

November 2018

There’s a moment in Laura Kaye’s underrated novel English Animals when the protagonist Mirka, sitting in the village bar with her married lover, notices...
Mute Canticle

Prize Entry

April 2016

Leon Craig

Prize Entry

April 2016

Giulio the singing fascist came to pick me up from the little airport in his Jeep. He made sure to come round and hold...

READ NEXT

poetry

September 2011

The Cinematographer, a 42-year-old man named Miyagawa, aimed his camera directly at the sun, which at first probably seemed like a bad idea

Michael Earl Craig

poetry

September 2011

Last night Kurosawa’s woodcutter strode through the forest, his axe on his shoulder. Intense sunlight stabbed and sparkled and...

fiction

June 2011

Arthur Miller

Michael Amherst

fiction

June 2011

The last time I saw Vin and Jackie we were killing slugs. The three of us had been smoking...

Prize Entry

April 2015

Every Woman to the Rope

Joanna Quinn

Prize Entry

April 2015

My father believed the sea to be covetous: a pleading dog that would lap at you adoringly, sidling up...

 

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