Yahia Lababidi

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Yahia Lababidi (September 25, 1973), Egyptian-American poet, aphorist and essayist, is the author of six critically-acclaimed books and has been featured on NPR, Best American Poetry, World Literature Today, On Being with Krista Tippett, The Guardian and Al Jazeera, among many other place.

As for poets, only the misguided follow them. Do you not see that they roam confusedly through all the valleys (of falsehoods, thoughts, and currents). And they say what they themselves do not do. Quran


Signposts to Elsewhere: A Book of Aphorisms (2019)[edit]

  • A good listener is one who helps us overhear ourselves.
  • With enigmatic clarity, Life gives us a different answer each time we ask her the same question.
  • The thoughts we choose to act upon define us to others, the ones we do not define us to ourselves.
  • Temptation: seeds we are forbidden to water, that are showered with rain.
  • Impulses we attempt to strangle only develop stronger muscles.
  • Ambiguity: the bastard child of creativity and cowardice.
  • Truth can be like a large, bothersome fly – brush it away and it returns buzzing.
  • In life, as in love, graceful leave-taking is the epitome of gratitude.
  • Pleasure may be snatched from life’s clenched fists, not joy
  • Miracles are proud creatures; they will not reveal themselves to those who do not Believe.
  • To be treated with mercy, some must reveal their handicaps, while others must conceal them.
  • To hurry pain is to leave a classroom still in session.
  • To prolong pain is to miss the next lesson.
  • Like cars in an amusement park, our direction is often determined through collisions.
  • The personal made universal is art’s truth.
  • Take two opposites, connect the dots, and you have a straight line.
  • Romantic: one who professes to prefer the thorns to the rose.

"Asporisms on Art, Morality and Spirit" (2013)[edit]

in The Elephant Journal, Nov 3, 2013
  • Aphorisms respect the wisdom of silence by disturbing it, but briefly.
  • To maintain immaculate speech, often times silence is required.
  • One definition of success might be refining our appetites, while deepening our hunger.
  • Hope is more patient than despair and so outlasts it.

External links[edit]

  • An Evening with Yahia Lababidi in Austin, Texas (video)


  • Reverence for the Visible and Invisible Worlds, On Being with Krista Tippett Blog