Book details

The Threshold

Poems

Author: Iman Mersal; Translated from the Arabic by Robyn Creswell

The Threshold

The Threshold

$26.00

About This Book

A selection of luminous, fiercely intelligent verse from Egypt’s premier poet.

Iman Mersal is Egypt’s—indeed, the Arab world’s—great outsider poet. Over the...

Page Count
128
On Sale
10/18/2022

Book Details

A selection of luminous, fiercely intelligent verse from Egypt’s premier poet.

Iman Mersal is Egypt’s—indeed, the Arab world’s—great outsider poet. Over the past three decades, she has crafted a voice that is ferocious and tender, street-smart and vulnerable. Her early work captures the energies of Cairo’s legendary literary bohème, a home for “Lovers of cheap weed and awkward confessions / Anti-State agitators” and “People like me.” These are poems of wit and rage, freaked by moments of sudden beauty, like “the smell of guava” mysteriously wafting through the City of the Dead. Other poems bear witness to agonizing loss and erotic temptation, “the breath of two bodies that never had enough time / and so took pleasure in their mounting terror.” Mersal’s most recent work illuminates the trials of displacement and migration, as well as the risks of crossing boundaries, personal and political, in literature and in life.

The Threshold gathers poems from Mersal’s first four collections of poetry: A Dark Alley Suitable for Dance Lessons (1995), Walking as Long as Possible (1997), Alternative Geography (2006), and Until I Give Up the Idea of Home (2013). Taken together, these works chart a poetic itinerary from defiance and antagonism to the establishment of a new, self-created sensibility. At their center is the poet: indefatigably intelligent, funny, flawed, and impossible to pin down. As she writes, “I’m pretty sure / my self-exposures / are for me to hide behind.”

Imprint Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN

9780374604271

In The News

The publication of Iman Mersal’s The Threshold is a major literary event. Long recognized throughout the Arab world and in Europe, Mersal is one of the strongest confessional (or postconfessional) poets we now have, in any language: her poems are fueled by a mordant wit, sensual vibrancy, and feminist brio. Impatient with pieties—whether political, erotic, or poetic—she writes, like Louise Glück, with emotional intensity and analytic coolness. This is poetry of earned and perfect pitch: the notations of an impassioned mind. I read The Threshold straight through; it will become a permanent companion.” —Maureen N. McLane , author of More Anon

“Undeceived, ironic, daring, Iman Mersal’s poems are animated by a singular sensibility. They deal candidly with real life—migration, dying parents, emotional entanglements—and discover general truths among the fine particulars. Robyn Creswell’s translation is deft and subtle, and the Anglophone world is lucky to have it.” —Nick Laird , author of Feel Free

About the Creators

The Threshold

The Threshold

$26.00