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Cartographies of Absence

Mahmoud Al-Zayed (Author)

Cartographies of Absence is a brilliant demonstration of how the creative act is indeed an act of translation of one’s life, times and context. The series of twenty-four poems written first in Arabic and then rendered into English and placed along-side each other, beautifully celebrates the poetry of the written script as it visually catches the eye of readers who may or may not be bi-lingual. It is this juxtaposition of the two worlds-one held in Arabic and the other in English that gives the whole book a dialogic structure, appealing to the heart as well as mind. The beauty of the text lies in this very idea of celebrating traditions of writing in the Arab world which is marked by both intensity of expression and diversity of content.

The personal situation of the poet, a Syrian national who has been in India since 2011, pursuing higher education under the aegis of ICCR, needless to say was not without compulsions. Poetry in such situations gives language to intensely felt incidents and events, and becomes an axis of negotiating with the horrors of existence, in order not to lose one’s faith in God and man.

The highly charged existential moments that the poems capture, documents well, the feeling of being in perpetual exile from one’s homeland, from one’s people, family and friends and even from one’s very own self.

Memory and desire become the two lifelines that one can hold on to-as worlds and words, images and fragments keep crowding in when fear and anxiety makes it difficult for one to even dare and dream.

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Bibliographic information

Title Cartographies of Absence
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.2018
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Adroit Publishers
Language: English
isbn 9788187393641
length 110p.