Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Review of The Butterfly's Burden by Mahmoud Darwish

Check out this recent review of The Butterfly's Burden, a collection of three recent books by Mahmoud Darwish and translated by Fady Joudah, the recent winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize. Shout-out to Fady, a good man and a great writer and translator.

Among other statements in the review:
"Reality" can and must be remade; and Darwish, writing from embattlement, knows that to refuse the status quo he must refuse fixity. The existence of alternatives is not merely desirable but necessary: both philosophical and political fact. A sense of intrinsic mutability becomes not the fear of death, but an engine for survival: "On my ruins the shadow sprouts green". Keeping things in flux, refusing to let them fall into place as circumstantial givens, is the political act this poetry carries out. "Because reality is an ongoing text, lovely / white, without malady", as A State of Siege (2002), a book-length poem of the second intifada, points out.

I will be teaching this book in the spring! Darwish is an essential poet to know, and this translation of his recent work is essential. I will write a longer review at some point, but suffice to say, everyone should read A STATE OF SIEGE from this book.

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