Jusoor, a literary quarterly published in Bethseda, Maryland, boasts an editorial board that reads like a who's who of contemporary Arabic literature (poets such as Mahmud Darwish and ‘Afifi Matar, novelists such as Edward al-Kharrat and Jabra Ibrahim Jabra). Volume 11/12, a double issue featuring the works of over forty Arab American writers, has been published as a book. Most contributors have submitted short poems, others semi-biographical fiction pieces.
Post Gibran is welcome, with some reservations, for it makes a strong and clear statement that Americans of Arab ethnicity are finding a voice and are prepared to identify themselves to the American general reader. As such, Post Gibran is of interest to anyone wishing to hear that voice, with all its richness and variety.
Nevertheless, this compilation does beg some questions: What is an Arab American writer? Why define writers by their ethnicity rather than by stylistic considerations or the quality and texture of their writing? There is some accomplished writing here (especially the contributions by David Williams, Saladin Ahmed, Lisa Suhair, and Daniel Moore), but other pieces are of insufficient merit. This inconsistency of quality leaves the reader concluding that shared ethnicity cannot provide an adequate reason for collecting such disparate and uneven works into one volume. It is certainly not a substitute for editorial care and scrutiny; considerably more attention should have been paid to correcting poor grammatical structure and at least some organization of the material into sections. The editors also would have done great service by being more selective and less eclectic. The full-page vanity portraits of the writers could also be dropped with no loss.