Carcanet Press
Quote of the Day
Your list has always been interesting, idiosyncratic, imaginative and your translations [...] have been a source of pleasure to me.
Al Alvarez

Taking Mesopotamia

Jenny Lewis

Cover of Taking Mesopotamia by Jenny Lewis
RRP: GBP£ 9.95
Discount: 10%
You Save: GBP£ 0.99

Price: GBP£ 8.96
Available Add to basket
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 906188 11 5
Categories: 21st Century, Arabic, British, War writings, Women
Imprint: OxfordPoets
Published: March 2014
216 x 137 x 10 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB)
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Reviews
  • Father

    My face is made from yours -
    your jaw, your weak right eye:
    my shin bone’s from your leg,
    shattered in the moonlight
    as you supervised the digging
    of the trench at Kut-al-Amara.

    Years on, your long dead smile
    watched us from walls, sideboards:
    from our mother’s dressing table
    casting a shadow round her heart
    like your shadow in the album
    as you pointed the camera

    towards the Bridge of Boats
    at Qurna, the army camp at Kut:
    father, those splinters of bone
    were your salvation, hard shards
    from which I sprang with shared
    ancestry, looking for you.
    Taking Mesopotamia was originally inspired by Jenny Lewis’s search for her lost father – the young South Wales Borderer who fought in the ill-fated Mesopotamian campaign of World War I. Through reconstructed diary extracts, witness statements, formal poems and free verse, the book extends into a wider exploration of the recent Iraq wars. It also includes translations of a number of the poems into Arabic, and photographs taken by Lewis’s father on campaign in 1916. Woven throughout the book is a strand inspired by The Epic of Gilgamesh, whose themes of hubris, abuse of power and fear of death show us how little the world has changed in four thousand years.

    'Taking Mesopotamia is easily the best collection of poetry I've read so far this year.'
    Gareth Prior's blog
     'Taking Mesopotamia -- a brilliantly ironic title for our times --€“ controls its anger through an accomplished and flexible technique in verse and prose. It is [...] an eloquent rejoinder to those who say poetry can’t, or shouldn'€™t, concern itself with public matters.'
    Bernard O'€™Donoghue
    'Taking Mesopotamia is a truly memorable piece of work. Lewis is an acutely attentive observer, but this is more than a poetic documentary – it lives as much in the ear as in the imagination, so well acoustically arranged that we cannot forget any of the voices in it.'
    Jane Draycott
    Praise for Jenny Lewis 'In this haunted and haunting collection, intuition leads cognition in a pas de deux of great power and beauty.'
    Jon Stallworthy, Oxford Times
    'Her poems delve into her own past, recalling with powerful specificity...'
    Sarah Crown, Guardian
You might also be interested in:
Cover of Pictures of War
Pictures of War Mary Griffiths
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Teaching the Sonnet for the Poetry School read more Casual Labour read more In All My Holy Mountain read more Wordsworth's Moon read more An Outburst for Tom Raworth read more Taken as Read read more
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2017 Carcanet Press Ltd