Red Cherry on a White-Tiled Floor, A

by Al-Massri, Maram

Maram al-Massri is an Arab love poet for the modern age. She writes short, seductive lyrics of astonishing clarity and piercing candour, stringing them together like pearls in a story chain. This first English translation of her work draws together poems from two sequences. Her red cherry is like red lips, a fruit or drop of blood offered for the reader to taste in the poems, but abandoned to the coldness of the white-tiled floor, the white paper of the page. Her lines are anguished but tightly reined, breaking completely with traditional Arab love poetry to draw on everyday language as well as images and metaphors remembered and reinvented from childhood and the Koran.