Dreaming at the Crossroads of Cultures: Mirages

By 
Angele Ellis
 
Issa Makhlouf’s “Mirages” (The Post-Apollo Press, 2015), formerly translated from the Arabic into French in 2004, returns in an English edition translated by Alicia F. Lam. As a Lebanese writer and poet living in Paris, Makhlouf has written 11 books, of which many have been translated into other languages. In “Mirages,” he presents a collection of eye-catching poems that, as the book’s title suggests, are written with the mysticism of a mirage. He touches upon several themes in these prose poems, some of which are the connections between travel and absence and the use of violence and beauty to question nature, its creatures and mysteries. Divided into two sections, Makhlouf dedicates the first part of his book to a stream of thoughts and observations, where the speaker reflects on past memories of his childhood war nightmares while traveling through Europe. The second part of the book consists of five meditations on the lives of saints. Although written in dream-like styles, the poems are not entirely carefree — Makhlouf teaches his readers how to persist onward in life in spite of traumatic memories that may hold them back. Angele Ellis reviews “Mirages” (“Dreaming at the Crossroads of Cultures: Mirages”) for the forthcoming issue of Al Jadid Magazine, Vol. 20, No. 71, 2016.

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