In this rewarding debut pamphlet, Fahad Al-Amoudi blurs the lines between national and personal memory. These finely-crafted poems are rooted in the specificity of family and place, with the trappings of myth and fabulation. His speakers are restless, yet alert to the minute details of the world – movements of insects, the intricacy of jewellery, the bloom and spoil of fruit – against which we experience their coming of age.
“These poems are stubborn refractions. Al-Amoudi weds together disappeared, intertwined pasts and presents, departures and returnings, catching hold of historical resonances and their spectral tendrils. Language is lustrous. Here, it glistens with yearning, possessing the imaginative flair of the scavenger. The abyss becomes the perfect launch pad.”
Fahad identifies some of the most important themes of the pamphlet, such as grief, and suggests that we might think of the collection as a book of ghost stories. He talks about the juxtaposition in the pamphlet between the main speaker and the voice of Prince Alemayehu, a real nineteenth-century figure whose fictional letters appear throughout the book. Fahad goes on to read 'Cinnabar Island' and to explore the significance of islands in his work, as well as the relationship between humans and the environment. Finally, Fahad explains some of the key cultural influences behind this poem.