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State of Emergency

State of Emergency

by Soleïman Adel Guémar

Bilingual English / French edition

Translated from the French by Tom Cheesman and John Goodby, with an introduction by Lisa Appignanesi
Parallel text: French / English
Recommended by PEN

Part of our Visible Poets series edited by Jean Boase-Beier

Soleïman Adel Guémar was born and raised in Algiers where he worked as a journalist. He published numerous stories and won two national poetry prizes. In 2002 he left Algeria to seek safety for himself and his family in the UK.

State of Emergency, a representative selection of Guémar's poetry, is rooted in Algerian experience, speaking of urgent concerns everywhere — oppression, resistance, state violence, traumas and private dreams.

His poetry sings of life's sensual pleasures in the face of the grotesque morbidity of violent political repression. In the excellent translation by Tom Cheesman and John Goodby, Guémar's poems carry all their native force and brusque wit.

In her introduction, Lisa Appignanesi writes: Soleïman Adel Guémar is almost exactly as old as the independent Republic of Algeria. He has witnessed its terrible history, the crimes against humanity which attended its birth and the enduring 'state of emergency' under which life has been blighted ever since. This volume marks an important moment: a record from the inside of a history which is too palpably of our times... Where before we had only newspaper headlines, we now have a living voice, both political and lyrical — an intensely individual voice which speaks out freely and traces the lineaments of a tragic history.

166 pages
ISBN: Paperback 978 1904614 39 5, hardback 978 1904614 66 1
Published August 2007

» About Soleïman Adel Guémar