Every Atom | No. 182

Tahseen Al-Khateeb

Introduction to Every Atom by project curator Brian Clements

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I am the poet of the body,

And I am the poet of the soul.


Whitman, in “Song of Myself,” deals with body and soul not as a duality or a dichotomy, nor as opposites, but rather as one. This Oneness is the Kosmos of his Song. Every atom in this Kosmos unites to make the path. The body ascends into the soul, while the soul descends into the body, and vice versa. All at once, into a journey towards the whole being. But it’s an erotic journey. And the power, the power of unity, of oneness, comes from this eroticism. The “body electric” fused with the perfumed soul. Then the Song becomes the temple, and from that temple the “song will rise to meet the sun.”


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Tahseen Al-Khateeb is a poet and translator who lives in Amman, Jordan. Among his many translations, into the Arabic, are: Modern Latin American Literature by Roberto Gonzales Echevarria (2019); Erotica by Yannis Ritsos (2017); and The Monster Loves His Labyrinth by Charles Simic (2016). His book of poems Hajar An-Nada (The Dew Stone) was published by Al-Mutawassit, Milano, in 2017.


Cover art by Katie Bayne