The Rising of the Ashes

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."

—Colin Herd

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."

—Geoff Wisner


"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."

-Julie LeBlanc

Remembering the Dead
Mar 12, 2010

"North African expatriate writer Tahar Ben Jelloun (The Blinding Absence of Light) is well-regarded in his adopted home of France (awarded a Prix Goncourt in 1987) and around the world, having garnered an International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2004 (one impressive aspect of this award is that the long list of nominees is assembled by polling those unacknowledged legislators: librarians). He is a novelist, essayist, journalist, and, no small thing, an engaging polemicist. Having his fiction on my bookshelves and thus some passing familiarity, I had not known Ben Jelloun to engage in poetics."

- Robert Birnbaum, The Morning News

Islam in Europe
Jun 9, 2009

Watch author Ben Jelloun on video from the symposium that gathered "prominent, cross-sector speakers from diverse disciplines and the Muslim diaspora to share country-specific perspectives on Muslim communities integration in European society."

The opening event asked "How did we get here?" and explored "how Europe's socio-economic and political history led to contemporary, post-colonial immigration and integration issues."

- New York Public Library


"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.’"
—David O'Neill

The Rumpus

"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