Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

Book Review: I am the Beggar of the World

The beautiful translations of the landays in this collection allow Western readers to share the secret, crafty, sly, witty, subversive utterings of Afghani women, and to relish their vitality and vivacity. There is so much life in these words, so much compact poetry in their form that they hit you like small detonations as you go from page to page. Equally beautiful and poetic are Seamus Murphy’s photographs that accompany them, breathtakingly stark, angular, misty, obscured… so many moods that give at once a dual experience of being lost in the exotic and immersed in the familiar. Both poems and photos are just so very human. The clear and modest prose of translator Eliza Griswold serves as a skilled tour guide, giving you just the right amount of introduction to the collection and commentary between poems to make you feel you can wander, exploring freely, but her capable insider knowledge will get you safely back to yourself again. These poems could send you adrift on a storm cloud of anguish, but Griswold keeps talking to you, like a good midwife, keeping you tethered to the ground.

Rarely have I held in my hands a volume of poetry that felt so rare and deserving of having been published. The world is a lighter, brighter place because poetry like this exists, in a book like this. for readers like us. The poems are not light and bright, no — anything but. Yet in their form and utterance they exalt the inextinguishable, monumental core of women who know so completely, for however brief a moment, what a precious, rare privilege it is to be alive. 

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This entry was posted on 21/08/2014 by in Books, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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