Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Inhabited Initial

The Inhabited Initial

I have been savouring Fiona Farrell's poetry collection The Inhabited Initial, which deals with the ancient middle-eastern sources of our alphabet, as well as related issues of power, violence, history and language in the Middle East.

from "The Translator"

"The translator dangles/ by a thread above/ thickets of sound.// He presses his hand at/ the small sharp print/ of an ancient tongue.// His fingers feel for the/ crack where words can/ spill from the rock like water."

There are memorable New Zealand poems, too. I love this, from "Otanerito":

"Cliff meets sea./ Sea bash at/ knuckle rock./ Thump, says sea./ Cliff says/ stop."

It's so like her poem "Full stop":

"The little dot raises its hand./ It breaks into the letters marching/ from left to right and forces them to/ form cohorts of meaning. It insists on quiet."

Land, language, human struggle, all bound together. Fantastic.

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