REVIEWS When the Words Burn: An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry 1945-1987, translated and edited by Jon Mikhail Asfour, Dunvegan, Ontario: Cormorant Books, 1988. 237 pages. US $ 12.95. The rubric on the back cover of When the Words Burn announces that its appearance is "a major event in the international world of translation and scholarship since John Asfour has not only translated the works of thirty-five poets, but also written a wonderfully engaging and accessible introduction to the social, political and literary background of the modernist movement in Arabic poetry". This is not a first, however, and has been attempted recently by Abdullah al-Udhari in Modern Poetry of the Arab World (Penguin Books, 1986) and by Salma Khadra Jayyusi in Modern Arabic Poetry: An Anthology (Columbia University Press, 1987). Jayyusi's collection is by far the most impressive of the three, comprising 296 selections by 93 poets. Al-Udhari's is less comprehensive, comprising 101 selections by 24 poets but is the work of one person whereas the other is a collaborative venture. Both unfortunately suffer from occasional mistranslations and the Jayyusi volume is particularly troubling for omissions mid-text.' This review is an attempt to evaluate the Asfour collection per
Journal of Arabic Literature – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1992
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