Learning to Pray:  a book of longing

Learning to Pray: a book of longing

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Yahia Lababidi, Egyptian-Lebanese, is the author of eight books of poetry and prose; most recently, the collection of essays and conversations, Revolutions of the Heart (Wipf and Stock, 2020). Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, three times, Lababidi’s writing has been translated into several languages, and he has participated in international poetry festivals throughout the USA and Europe, as well as the Middle East.

Paperback: 126 pages

Publisher: Kelsay Books (October 16, 2021)

View the Book Trailer here


Lababidi’s new volume brings a dynamic flow to his subject that is both timeless and very contemporary; his insights summon us to a spiritual but entirely undogmatic journey.

 —Abdal Hakim Murad, author of Travelling Home and Dean of Cambridge Muslim College


Learning to Pray is a masterpiece. Yahia Lababidi is a lyrical genius touched by the genies. I wonder how he is able, time after time, to work such miracles—authentic and truly beautiful.

 —Peter Zsoldos, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic and poetry translator


Despite its insistence that the mystic “swoons, / defenseless / in the face of beauty,” the real mysticism of Lababidi’s book of longing is not private but shared: the speaker swoons, and leaves the reader defenseless in the face of beauty.

 —H. L. Hix, American poet, academic and editor


In lean, luminescent verse, Lababidi has created a portal into quiet worlds, guiding us to be our best selves. He reminds us of the richness of the stilled and savored. In difficult times, his poems help the reader to summon courage and beauty.

 —Carla Power, author of Prodigal Son and former Newsweek correspondent


Lababidi believes that there is a common denominator between the philosopher and the poet, both of whom struggle to build a bridge between two worlds, the world of the visible and the world of the invisible, and here writing becomes a form of prayer.

 —Osama Esber, Syrian poet, publisher and translator