cover image Adrenalin


Ghayath Almadhoun, trans. from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham. Action, $18 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-0-900575-97-6

In the first English translation of his work, Almadhoun, a Syrian-born Palestinian based in Stockholm, grapples with all-consuming love, abandonment, and the dark muse that feeds the “wolf” inside him: his hometown, Damascus. Almadhoun composes these reveries, odes, and metaphorical visions with sensuality and urgency. He compares the banal terror of his homeland to that of the West, where war making has become an “art form.” Almadhoun writes of how “the Twin Towers collapsed/ time after time after time in my European friends’ fantasies,” and sarcastically apologizes for being born of a people who disseminate “severed body parts” into the West’s “snow-white memory.” He also responds to the bigotry of his immediate neighbors (“I shan’t teach my children to fear strangers/ For I am one of them”) and describes an absorbing passion: “I’m the one who loved you savagely/ And kissed you without knowing the difference between your/ face and silence.” Almadhoun displays a refreshing persistence to write beyond the scope of isolated pain: “all my poems, which I planted in the flesh of your days like a rusty knife, are not my poems. I stole them from those who had been forgotten, or who had forgotten.” Though occasionally long-winded and repetitious, this collection is a spellbinding, full-blooded spring of a rapturous history untold. (Nov.)