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Iraqi Poetry Today Paperback – May 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norma Rinsler is Emeritus Professor of French at King's College London. Brian Stimpson, Paul Gifford and Robert Pickering have published a number of books about Paul Valery.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Poetry in Translation (Book 19)
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Poetry in Translation (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095338246X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0953382460
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,742,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This translation was not produced to serve as an intellectual distraction for academic elites, nor enchanted minds lounging in pricey cafes. Instead, it is a serious attempt to "save what remains of Iraqi humanity and culture in the face of dictatorship and war" (5). Indeed, under the current turmoil of post-war occupied Iraq, the publication of Simawe and Weissbort's translation is more urgent than ever.
The volume represents several major styles of Arab and Kurdish poetry, and subjects range from love, mourning, war, dictatorship, politics, exile, religion, to personal and artistic repression, as well as the oppressive regime that existed under Saddam Hussein. At the time of printing, all but five of the poets in the volume lived in Western exile. Included are biographies of the translators as well as the poets, a feature that often helps to inform the poems. What do readers find among these biographies, Islamic fundamentalists? Hardly. Instead, we have what might otherwise appear as a nexus of contrasts: doctoral students, journalists, educators, a youth counselor and author of children's book, editors, a former Iraqi Kurdistan Minister of Culture, a computer manufacturer, translators, graduates and students of American universities, poets who are also playwrights and essayists; and, in general, a large assembly of prolifically published writers whose world views span a wide breadth of politics and religion. Although broadly regional, the poems are far from being culturally naïve or parochial, and they continually evoke a mythically-imbued solicitude for not just traditional regions or settings such as the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but even the gods, kings, queens, literary dissidents, warriors, and cities of both ancient Iraq and the ancient Western world.
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