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Review: State of Emergency, by Soleïman Adel Guémar

Jo Balmer, 'Getting it Across' MPT series 3, no. 8

Algerian political exile Guémar, now living in Wales, might be a new name in French poetry but, as Lisa Appignanesi states in her introduction to this important work, Britain has inadvertently inherited a political poet of stature, one whose language sings. Awarded a recent English PEN Writers in Translation Award, this is at once a disturbing and deeply moving volume, charting brutal state violence in Guémar's homeland as he adopts many different voices and personae - the imprisoned, the abused and those bereaved by terror... Urgent and unmissable. (For a sample of his work and a word about him, see MPT 3/2 and 3/6.)