Author: Ghayath Almadhoun
Translator: Catherine Cobham
Publisher: Action Books (2017)
Here is Adrenalin, Syrian-born, Stockholm-based Palestinian poet Ghayath Almadhoun’s first collection to be published in English. This sinuous translation by Catherine Cobham comprises poems that span years and continents, that circulate between cities, ideas, lovers, places of refuge, war zones, time zones, histories. Here is a vital, relentless, intertextual voice that refuses arrest by sentimentality, that pursues the poetry coursing underneath the poetry.
“This is political poetry at full force. This is what political poetry must look like if it is going to be serious. We cannot be satisfied by less complex texts–they are so hopelessly infantilizing. In this crucial political poetry, war’s contradictions and suffering are portrayed in endless nuances. This is our wake-up call.”
“Many poets attempt to traverse the gulf between the experience of tragedy and the ability to relay its magnitude to anyone else. But few living have done it with such flourish, such sustained passion and formal precision as Ghayath Almadhoun in Adrenalin. The poet emerges from Palestine, “a country famous for its wars,” and aims to braid that nation’s history and present with his own singular unprecedented experience. Even amidst the cannons and “shrapnel butterflies,” Alhmadhoun keeps a keen eye toward wonder—performing ablutions in wine before touching a beloved, eating ice cream in winter. Still, this searing collection orbits war, the consequences of war on a person and on a people. In Almadhoun we find an urgent, necessary voice, “the only survivor of this glorious massacre, the witness who arrived late, calmly observing the tombstones.”