PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Monthly Carcanet Books
Gratis Ad 1
Next Issue Kei Miller Sometimes I Consider the Names of Places Kyoo Lee's A Close Up and Marjorie Perloff's response John McAuliffe City of Trees Don Share on Whitman's Bicentenary Jeffrey Wainwright and Jon Glover on Geoffrey Hill's Gnostic

This review is taken from PN Review 192, Volume 36 Number 4, March - April 2010.

TWO HOUSES MOURID BARGHOUTI, Midnight and Other Poems (Arc Publications) £15.99 hb, £12.99 pb
ADINA HOFFMAN, My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness (Yale University Press, 2009) £17.99

Exiled Palestinian Mourid Barghouti’s autobiographical prose-work I Saw Ramallah has been widely, and justly, acclaimed. Midnight & Other Poems is the first sizable collection of his poetry to appear in this country and it has been lucidly translated by his wife, Radwa Ashour; the fact that English is not her first language makes her achievement all the more remarkable. Arc is to be congratulated for presenting the poems also in their original language - would that bigger publishers followed suit. The title-poem takes up well over half the book’s volume and is alone worth the price. Of the shorter poems, the results are somewhat variable. The problem, I suspect, lies with the Arabic originals. ‘A Night Unlike Others’ has as its subject matter a young boy who was murdered by the Israeli Defence Forces - the shocking images of the boy’s father trying to shield him from sniper fire were broadcast worldwide - and in his poem Barghouti has the boy’s ghost revisit his parents’ house. It might sound hard-hearted to say this but say it I will: the memory of Mohammad al-Durra, if it is to survive beyond the applause readings of this poem doubtless provoke, requires a sturdier vehicle than the one it is given here, which regrettably lapses into sentimentality. Violence is, after all, the obverse of sentiment. (What can be meant, I wonder, by Guy Mannes-Abbott’s assertion, in an otherwise informative Introduction, that the killing of an innocent boy has become ‘an icon of injustice’? ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image