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Edited by Merle Bachman and Anthony Rudolf
RRP: GBP 10.39
ISBN: 978 1 784106 76 8
Categories: 20th Century, British, Jewish, Scottish
Imprint: Northern House
Published: October 2018
128 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
Nameless Country gathers poems by the Scottish-Jewish poet Arthur ‘A.C.’ Jacobs, whose work, somewhat critically neglected in the past, has gained new resonance for twenty-first-century readers. Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust, Jacobs in his poems confronts his complex cultural identity as a Jew in Scotland, as a Scot in England, and as a diaspora Jew in Israel, Italy, Spain and the UK.
A self-made migrant, Jacobs was a wanderer through other lands and lived in search, as he puts it, of the ‘right language’, which ‘exists somewhere / Like a country’. His poems are attuned to linguistic and geographic otherness and to the lingering sense of exile that often persists in a diaspora. In his quiet and philosophical verse we recognise an individual’s struggle for identity in a world shaped by migration, division and dislocation.
'These are poems that speak with directness and integrity not just of and to Jewish experience but with an understanding of exile and disconnection that will resonate with all dispersed people [...] He should be required reading for those who try to insist that migration should mean the abandonment of other places, other lives.'
Jenni Calder, Jewish Quarterly
'I like Jacobs' poetry immensely, and wonder how he crafted it without the usual forms poets find helpful when learning their art. Among the 'early poems' is one called 'Oy'. I love this one because it was crying out to be written, and only Jacobs had the chutzpah and wit to write it... a thoroughly moral, elegant poet.'
Leah Fritz, Acumen
'In our time of Trump and Brexit, with anti-immigration rhetoric on the rise, the poetry of A.C. Jacobs achieves a new relevance in its celebration of humanity and diversity, and in its deep understanding of the importance of an inclusive and expansive understanding of where and how we might belong.'
Will Burns, The Bottle Imp
'Jacobs's poetry is far too good to be pigeonholed in the way he himself did so self-deprecatingly.'
Mark Glanville, The Jewish Chronicle
'His unassuming, deliberately prosaic style itself seems a kind of resistance to all forms of grandiloquence and conceit, and it provides the ideal vehicle for his stubborn, Forster-like affirmations of the validity of small private tragedies, measured against the din of history.'
Times Literary Supplement Praise for Anthony Rudolf 'His poems are charged with the love of beauty: in paint, in the poetry he admires, and in women. His longing is almost impersonal in its intensity.'
Elaine Feinstein, JQ
'It moves us through time and space to the long view of a life's work...European Hours is an open book of secrets, and the remarkable intimacy Rudolf has spun through it that binds the reader to the poems.'
Paul Pines, American Book Review
'For Rudolf, writing and painting especially, but also music, are exploratory tools that enable him to probe more deeply into his own self, his relationships, as well as all those other selves that are not ''himself.'' For he is obviously also par excellence a poet and an intellectual attracted to otherness, to what he is not.'
'Every poem like a new geometry - of surprises. A strange voice of cat's cradles in a Kafkaesque half-light - very strange and unpredictable.'
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