Bullets & Orchids by Rewa Zeinati

A5, 24pp, €5, June 2013
ISBN 979-10-90394-41-4
The cover image is by the publisher

Stunning text exquisitely tuned to the traumas/torments/delicate presences of our (utterly mysterious but knowable, in smaller ways) times. In 58 spare, but enormous segments of poetry, Rewa Zeinati transports and elevates her readers into and beyond the confounding. It is rare to read text that feels like such a full breath. Naomi Shihab Nye

This is not your usual quiet, well mannered, little poetry book. In fact, it may not be a poetry book. It is most probably a journey: one where you can follow the workings of an intelligent mind on its surreal path through past and present, family and current day Middle East. This is not a book that will spoon-feed you. There is a refusal to give you words that you don’t need. There are no explanations. You are expected to be grown up. But OMG, the images. “I saw bullets though. Many were shaped like tongues.” You need to be on board this trip. Me? I’m going round again. This woman is the real deal. Frank Dullaghan

As the Arab street meets the determination of country to remain unchanged or even to re-invent the past, Rewa Zeinati keeps asking “where will it go from here?” In this amazing poetry sequence, nothing familiar remains, unless it be the fact that all aspects of our lives intersect: marriage, divorce, devotion to tradition, passion for change. The voice pushing out the declarations in this poetry turns to a syntax of interruption, one that remakes the Arab world in the speaker’s own image: fresh, honest, questioning, and challenging. Above all, this fervent poetry represents the latest flowering of the Middle East, surprising yet unstoppable, betokening individual life. Steven M. Schreiner

A raw and gripping new voice. Nathalie Handal