Zeina Hashem Beck

Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet with a BA and an MA in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Dubai, where she runs poetry workshops, reads regularly, and hosts PUNCH, a Dubai-based poetry and open-mic collective. Her website is www.zeinahashembeck.com.

Books by Zeina Hashem Beck  for the Backwaters Press

To Live in Autumn

Author: Zeina Hashem Beck
Format: Paperback, 100 pages
ISBN: 9781935218357
Published: September 2014

Buy This Book: Amazon – Small Press Distribution

Critical Praise for To Live in Autumn

Zeina Hashem Beck’s To Live in Autumn is honest and passionate. I also get the sense that no one but she could have written it. That’s not only because so many of her poems turn on Beirut, a city Hashem Beck clearly knows in intimate detail, but also because her lines often emit, seemingly effortlessly, the lovely musk of Arabic spiced with French. That Hashem Beck, even when she’s writing from a student’s point of view, manages to avoid the obvious tropes makes things even more interesting. I thought—judging this contest—“This person is going to be an important writer.” I still think so. Read her book and you will too.

—Lola Haskins, author of The Grace to Leave and 2013 Backwaters Prize judge


In To Live in Autumn, Zeina Hashem Beck crafts a multifaceted portrait of the people and the streets of Beirut.  Part love-letter, part elegy, Hashem Beck’s debut collection keeps the city from becoming “a shadow of a memory,/ the memory of a shadow” for poet and reader both, offering us instead “labyrinths/in which we get lost on purpose.” Stay a while, “watch the city unfold/ its colors again,” linger in “Modca/ the ancient coffee shop,” pass by “the deserted theater,” and listen at the leftist pub, where someone is playing the oud and “his rough voice sinks/ through us like a rock.” This collection is as vibrant and sensitive as its subject—the city that “understands/ not being tired of being.” Join me in an enthusiastic welcome for a compelling new voice in Anglophone poetry.

—John Hennessy, author of Coney Island Pilgrims and poetry editor of The Common


These are poems that come from somewhere deeper than the heart. They carry knowledge and an awareness of what it is to be human, to be a woman, to be raw with the constant anguish of a broken homeland. Yet, they are humane, they celebrate, they inhabit that place where love and joy co-mingle with pain, with the broken promises of generations. This is a voice ringing true and clear, its message is heard in the heart as well as the head. It is essential, honest, authentic. This is a voice that will be with us for a long time, growing ever stronger, touching us again and again, teaching us what it is to live in this hard, complex, beautiful world.

—Frank Dullaghan, Irish poet, Cinnamon Press

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet. Her first book, To Live in Autumn, won the 2013 Backwaters Prize. Her second book, Louder than Hearts, won the 2016 May Sarton New […]

  2. […] Zeina Hashem Beck reading from her Backwaters Prize-winning collection, To Live in Autumn, at the Dubai launch of her book. […]

  3. […] Hashem Beck’s 2013 Backwaters Prize awarded collection, To Live in Autumn, was named as a recommended poetry book for 2014 by Split This Rock. Split this Rock is […]

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