Tony Beyer: Here and There

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    تاريخ التسجيل : 14/09/2010

    Tony Beyer: Here and There

    مُساهمة  Admin في الخميس أبريل 25, 2013 4:49 pm


    Here and There: a selection by Basim Furat, translated from the Arabic by Muhiddein Assaf, Abbas El Sheikh, Abdul Monem Nasser and Yahya Haider, edited by Mark Pirie. HeadworX, 64pp, $NZ19.95. ISBN: 0-476-008854-9
    Reading this book in the context of the daily news during 2004 caused me to reflect yet again on the pernicious influence over the lives of ordinary, intelligent people exerted by the extraordinarily unintelligent characters who always seem to occupy positions of power. Basim Furat was born in Iraq in 1967. Regardless of his faculties, abilities and tastes, that fact alone has directed his life and achievement. His acceptance of the dictates of history, while not complaisant or resigned, is at the core of his poetry, as demonstrated by the titles of two of the finest poems in this first English-language selection: ‘I crossed the borders accidentally’ and ‘My Rank: Defeated’.
    Variously translated, Basim Furat’s style draws profoundly on the traditions of Middle Eastern literature, in particular the static depiction of a theme or mood which is then richly elaborated through metaphor rather than pursued in terms of development or resolution. Given the intractable nature of much of the content – war, grief, exile, political oppression – this is an appropriate strategy. The quite literal mixture of metaphor groups is a refreshing diversion from more austere English-language approaches to figurative technique.
    The poet’s individuality emerges through his intense personal involvement and open, if at times ambivalent, emotion:
    Maybe I love you,
    But your smile
    (That poem which defies being written)
    Ravishes me.
    ‘I Love You Not’
    He also introduces a quietly ironic contrast between the Iraq of his memory and the land of his exile, New Zealand. Yet the fateful rivers and place names of his homeland still preoccupy his consciousness. There is, too, an acutely subtle awareness of being in the present where we all belong: "that shriveling tremble before the onset of dusk".
    With so much media misinformation about the Arab and Muslim worlds surrounding us, Basim Furat’s is an example of a kind of voice we most urgently need to listen to. In times of conflict like these it is more often than not the poets who speak the truth.

    this review of Basim Furat's book appeared in SPIN magazine by a leading NZ poet and editor Tony Beyer




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