Syrian poet Maram al-Massri writes of love and the place of women in the modern age with striking candor and intensity. “I am this mix between the submissive and rebellious woman,” she writes, “my freedom is so difficult and so desired.” Her poems invoke a world where women are trapped and men flow freely, of the intoxicating power of seduction and the intensity of lust, of the security of relationships and muffled explosions of emotion.
Like grains of salt
This is how they disappeared,
who did not love me.
Al-Massri herself straddles racial, religious, and cultural worlds. Born in Latakia, Syria, she moved to Paris in 1984 and has since refused to return: “I divorced from my past, my religion, my land, and even from my language.” Despite being fluent in French and English, she writes in Arabic, following traditional forms.