Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review -- The Immigrant's Lament

Review by uzeziq -- The Immigrant's Lament

Post Number:#1 by uzeziq » 10 Jul 2017, 11:58
[Following is a volunteer review of "The Immigrant's Lament" by Mois benarroch.]

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The Immigrant’s Lament is an English translation of a collection of poems written by Mois Benarroch and published by Moben Publishing in 2016. The poems were originally written in Hebrew and published in 1994. There are a total of 53 poems in the book which contains 91 pages.

The book received its’ title from the first poem that appeared in the collection ‘The Immigrant’s lament’. It is not only the first poem but also the longest in the book. The poem introduces us to the plight of the poet, how he became an unhappy immigrant when his family relocated from Morocco, his birth place to Israel. It also highlights the dilemma and challenges he faced in settling down and accepting his new environment – if he ever did. This introduction is necessary as it creates the bedrock the reader needs to understand and decipher the geographical setting of the poems in the book as Israel, where the poet writes, as an immigrant. The poet is also able to make the reader understand better why he judges almost everything from the perspective he does, as an immigrant, from the culture to politics and religion. Although this poem takes a narrative form, it subtly moves the reader to feel pity for the poet and thus, take sides with him which becomes an important factor in making the reader accept his views and emotions in the poems that come after.

The poems in the book convey the themes of love, politics, religion, war, fear and uncertainty. The poet made use of a combination of rich poetic elements that made the content both engaging and interesting. He also introduced humor which helped ease the tense mood that some of the poems created and everything seemed to balance out fine. Throughout the book, the poet does not aim to force or convince the reader to accept his views, rather, he presents the poems as a dialogue he is having with himself. Nonetheless, he succeeds in keeping the reader’s attention with the use of imagery and rhetorical questions and thereby, sustaining the reader’s interest in his dialogue.

In the PDF version, there are some noticeable editing errors ranging from wrong spelling and omitted letters to improper spacing; some of which include ‘the outsiderwhen’ on page 3, ‘I sing you a love son.’ on page 45, ‘for Peace Now peoplethey’ on page 85, ‘I’m here to prouve you wrong’ on page 68, among others. Also, the “Table of Contents” is found at the last two pages of the book which made it really tiring and difficult for me to navigate to certain poems or areas of interest as I have to scroll through the entire book to look for the page number of a particular poem. It would have been better if the “Table of Contents” was placed before the poems for easy navigation.

In my opinion, The Immigrant's Lament will be well suited to all lovers of poetry. However, it contains a few non-English words and phrases such as “awadel yahoud”, “ze kaparateja”, and others. Some of them are Hebrew while others are Arabic. There are two poems in the book with French titles, ‘Les Entrailles Du Poete’ and ‘Les Poetes Maudits’. All of these words were foreign to me and I had to do a research to understand the meaning of the words before I could fully grab the context of what was said by the poet. Some readers might consider this a tedious process. Nonetheless, if effort is made to get the meaning of the words, it would become hard not to find the book interesting.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars because what it lacked in editing, was properly made up for in its’ interesting content.

The Immigrant's Lament 
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