Arc Publications logo

50 years at the cutting edge of poetry publishing

“A meeting point for poets of all latitudes”
— VĂ­ctor Rodríguez Núñez

Review: & Silk & Love & Flame, by Birhan Keskin

I am intrigued and refreshed by the cool simplicity of the lines. In the selection from her 1999 volume 20 Polished Tablets, for instance, there is a sequence of five poems entitled 'The Traveller's Black Suitcase' comprising two lines on each page ... it's impossible to look away; Keskin is not investigating here, she is experiencing; as readers we are not discovering, we are experiencing. The poems are the experience, and the effect is given by the poems' subjective syntax (a testament to the skill of George Messo's translations of the work): Stone splits for a flower, lets it pass.; I am the flower of weeping / that closes its face with its leaf.; I stand in the oleaster's silver side / a side of me long darkened. - open/close; out/in; spread/narrow - these physical sensations are the experience of the reading, whilst the meanings travel uncharted in the reader's body.