The Rising of the Ashes
Translated by Cullen Goldblatt
The Midwest Book Review
"Riveting, heartfelt, and a bit sobering, The Rising of the Ashes is masterfully translated by Cullen Goldblatt and makes a strong choice for readers."
"The febrile sense of the future suggested in these poems is of course our present, and of that, The Rising of the Ashes is eerily, engagingly and urgently penetrating."
The Quarterly Conversation
"Poetry written out of anger or outrage, or to express political convictions, doesn't often last as long as that, but this book remains raw, painful, and effective."
"Although Jelloun composed these pieces in direct response to the atrocities of the Gulf War, the overarching message of his poetry soars beyond that. The reader may find meaning in a war of any age, any race, any people; Jelloun's outrage cries beyond the borders set by the status quo to unite a worldwide readership."
"In The Rising of the Ashes, North African author Tahar Ben Jelloun tracks the tragedy of two Middle Eastern wars in two precisely calibrated verse collections. The first, about 1991's Gulf War, includes poems with lines such as 'Our speech fell into the grave / there are no longer words / only sticky liquid in the mud and shame.' The second, Unidentified, contains short renderings — often titled with simply a name or a date — of Palestinian victims of the early 1980’s wars in Lebanon. Ben Jelloun says of poetry’s relevance in calamitous times: 'So, Poetry rises. Out of Necessity. Amidst the disorder where human dignity is trampled, poetry becomes urgent language.’"
"The Rising of the Ashes, poems by Tahar Ben Jelloun is another welcome example of the City Lights mission. . . . What Jelloun proves throughout this book is that he has not let language(s) fail him or the people, places and historical moments he memorializes, making dates that are not headlines as important as front page news."
— Barbara Berman