Canadian author Trish Salah’s poetry collection Wanting In Arabic is just into its second edition and if you’re unfamiliar with her work, I’d ask you politely to stop reading that twaddle on your phone and go get a copy of this creative, energetic and beautiful poetry.
Salah is clever, not just intelligent but has the fury of lightning in her work, and her lyric form is ancient and yet has an urgent vibrancy which is utterly modern and sexy with it. There’s a lot of sexy queer/lesbian eroticism in this work, but it squirms, writhes and boldly takes its stance just about anywhere the words can go. Salah is furious and gentle, shocking and so,so tender it moved me, and I felt I didn’t understand some of her work. Always a powerful tool of the poet, to draw you back to their lathe of meaning and whittle some more of your mind away with their sharp edged observations.
Braiding theoretical concerns with the ambivalences of sexed and raced identity, with profound romanticism, Wanting in Arabic attempts to traverse the fantasies of loss and aggressive nostalgia in order to further a poetics of generous struggle and comic rather than tragic misrecognition.
Beautiful and with sotto Canadian echos of Elizabeth Smart’s intertwining of spontanitey and propriety, of place and thought, the melding and moulding of words here feels plastic still, forming under the pins of our eyes but still wriggling to move and express again, Salah’s work is a subtle explosion of images and ideas that are compulsively interesting.
Track down a copy if you can