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The Deborah Harris Agency

SO WHAT

SO WHAT

By: TAHA, Muhammad Ali

Poetry, 2008

These poems portray experiences that range from catastrophe to splendor, and each reflects and preserves an essential human dignity. Ali's work is driven by a storyteller’s vivid imagination, disarming humor and unflinching honesty.

Rights Sold to:

France, Editions Galaade; Germany, Fischer Verlag; USA, Copper Canyon Press

Reviews:

Ali has become one of the most widely admired Palestinian poets...Ali’s vivid free verse conveys the moody resilience of his personality in treatments of the national grief of occupation, exile and the Palestinian Arabs’ “endless migration.” Often informed by symbols and structures from Arab tradition, Ali’s ironies stand alongside easily grasped, even universal, versions of lament…” – Publishers Weekly

Taha Muhammad Ali speaks with an emotional forthrightness. . . . He has developed a style that seems both ancient and new, deceptively simple and movingly direct.” – The Washington Post

"Bittersweet, powerful verse." – The New York Sun

“Taha Muhammad Ali’s patient, insistent and often beautiful iterations of his identity are as compelling and evocative as the faces and places that any reader has himself or herself loved. It is immediately evident that the poet’s vision of experience is equally applicable to Arabs and Jews, kings and paupers, the quarter of the world’s population that is Chinese, and the other three-quarters as well.” – Ha’aretz

"A Palestinian Muslim whose own village, Saffuriyya, was obliterated by Israel in 1948... and who has managed to distill from that devastating experience not slogans, not hatred, but art of the highest order." – The Boston Globe

"He writes with the grace and forgiveness of an angel, the humanity of an everyman. Taha's poems speak the truth without a trace of rancor – with a transcendent hope for reconciliation and redemption." –‘Staff Pick,’ Elliott Bay Book Company

"... Muhammad Ali writes unornamented verse that is as moving as it is witty and artfully understated; his humane, conversational tone gradually reveals much psychological and intellectual complexity... These images accurately depict disastrous daily scenes in the Territories, but their significance is all the more compelling because they at once pinpoint and transcend a particular time and place. The words are contemporary, but the tragedy is also very ancient." – Antioch Review

"That such wisdom, humour, compassion, tolerance and joy in life as rests at the heart of Ali's work can emerge from such defeating circumstances is testimony to the best in the human mind. He is an extraordinarily subtle poet... Most impressive is his ability to address serious issues in a tone which never rises to the rhetorical... Ali is a superb poet and prose writer whose ability to imagine the real and to render it in memorable lines is of a very rare kind."The Penniless Press

"[Muhammad Ali] does not merely attempt to convey loss or exile to the reader, but through the honest narration of the story he guides the reader into a historical moment, where the reader is asked to participate... Despite the multiplicity of contradictory emotions and stories captured here, the one that looms largest is the affirmation of beauty and life."Aljadid