by Bargouti, M.
“Midnight and Other Poems” is the first full-length poetry collection to be published in the UK by this remarkable Palestinian writer, previously known to English-language readers for his highly-acclaimed autobiography “I Saw Ramallah” (Bloomsbury, 2004). Mourid Barghouti has spent many years in exile and his long poem “Midnight” is a rich montage of images of the land of his birth and the strong emotional responses to which these images give rise. Here, anger, frustration and despair are juxtaposed with yearning and tenderness in Barghouti’s powerful and evocative account of occupation, violence and oppression.The shorter poems which comprise the second half of the book are, by turns, dramatic and hard-hitting, contemplative and reflective, and together present an equally powerful and graphic picture of the poet’s homeland. In Radwa Ashour’s excellent translation, and with a helpful introduction by Guy Mannes-Abbott who recorded a number of conversations with the poet over a period of several weeks, this selection of Mourid Barghouti’s poems marks an important addition to the body of Arabic literature available to English-language readers world-wide.