The Rose Which I Don’t Name by Fatma Ben Mahmoud. Reviewed by Essahbi Ben Mansour.

The Rose Which I Don’t Name Book Cover

The Rose Which I Don’t Name: A New Poetry Collection by Fatma Ben Mahmoud.

 

The splendor of the word and the pulse of action in the existence:

 

A new poetry book titled The Rose Which I Don’t Name was published these days by poet Fatma Ben Mahmoud. It was, for those who are familiar with her creative experience, a sequel to her poetic path that is characterised by the transparency of meaning, and the elegance of form.

This book which included between its wings a bunch of short poems easily reveals a wonderful face of flash poetry that goes hand in hand with the spirit of speed in our current era because it masterfully uses the psychological moment to instantly and aesthetically capture the reader.

The poet here dives in the sea of language to sculpture sweetness from the saltiness of life, and come up with hope of the new existence from the pain of suffering. Digging the geography of the human soul in Fatma Ben Mahmoud’s diction is meaningless unless it is governed by the splendor of poetic creation, as if poetry, for her, is to keep track of destructions, capture sorrows, and transform them into a smiling poetry, even if it is sometimes mingled with such a bitterness that floats on the lips of language.

The poet, for instance, says in her poem “Frustration:”

“The painter despaired of

capturing the suitable colours

for his painting…

He went to wash his hands.

So beautiful colours

flowed between his fingers.

He wished if he had gathered them up.

They were slowly

entering the drain of the sink.”

Yearning to weave poems is not always a desire for art because it is oftentimes an escape from the house of stones to the house of humans as poetry is the house of humans and the well of its wild, simmering, choppy or low emotions.

In this regard, the poet says:

“Oftentimes

I long for

escaping from my house

and shelter

in a house in… a poem.”

A Net of Actions and a Consciousness of Existence:

Existence might be revealed in the narrow linguistic space in this book but in an expansive horizon of meanings pregnant with memories, implications, and fleeting images.

The voices of the pronouns rise high in a frame of the relationship of the ego with the other,  and the individual with his/her social milieu in the midst of this perplexed existence that is systematic as far as poetry is concerned, and chaotic as far as the system is concerned.

The poetic imagery here is fluid, and even exuberant because it is deeply rooted in the land of the action. This makes it a scene that moves in all directions and oscillates between all senses and pronouns.

This is the word for Fatma Ben Mahmoud. It throbs with life. Besides, she is immersed in it in an honest and creative way.

Originally appeared in the Tunisian daily Essahafa 06/12/2011 by Essahbi Ben Mansour.

You can read the original text in Arabic here.

Translated from Arabic by Ali Znaidi.

About aliznaidi

Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies in 2002. He teaches English at Tunisian public secondary schools. He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translations. His work has appeared here and there and is scheduled to appear elsewhere . At moments of revelation, he smokes and drinks green tea with mint while pondering.
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4 Responses to The Rose Which I Don’t Name by Fatma Ben Mahmoud. Reviewed by Essahbi Ben Mansour.

  1. mlynxqualey says:

    Oh, I like this, the slowness of:

    “So beautiful colours

    flowed between his fingers.

    He wished he had gathered them up.

    They were slowly

    entering the drain of the sink.”

    Very nicely translated!

  2. Safa Ben Mbarek says:

    I love it vert good work madame Fatma and thank you Mr Ali

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