A Handful of Blue Earth

Poems by Vénus Khoury-Ghata

Translated by Marilyn Hacker

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ISBN: 9781786940117

Publication: April 11, 2017

Series: Pavilion Poetry

In the USA? Buy the Paperback US edition
In her preface the distinguished American poet and translator Marilyn Hacker describes the poems included here as 'exploded narratives, re-assembled in a mosaic or labyrinth in which the reader, like Ariadne, finds a connecting thread'. Khoury-Ghata's book, published in her eighty-first year, is testimony to this Lebanese poet's enduring brilliance. Earlier translations by Hacker were described by Alica Ostriker as emerging 'from the embers of loss and death, from childhood and the moon, from villages and cemeteries and forests, geography and God'. In two moving sequences, we find Khoury-Ghata's voice retuning to familiar themes of death, intimacy, enforced silence and the surreal horror of war. Rendered faithfully and exquisitely by Hacker's concise eye, the poems mark an important contribution to world poetry in translation.  

Marilyn Hacker is the author of thirteen books of poems, including A Stranger’s Mirror (Norton, 2015), Names (Norton, 2010), Essays on Departure (Carcanet, 2006), an essay collection, Unauthorized Voices (Michigan, 2010), and fourteen collections of translations of French and Francophone poets including Emmanuel Moses, Marie Etienne, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Habib Tengour and Rachida Madani. DiaspoRenga, a collaborative sequence written with the Palestinian-American poet Deema Shehabi, was published by Holland Park Press in 2014. She lives in Paris.


The Lady of Syros

from The Book of Petitions

The Mothers and the Mediterranean


Hacker’s translations are fully alive. It would be hard to ignore this book any time, anywhere. I very strongly recommend it.
Poetry Book Society Bulletin

'Marilyn Hacker's translations are always precise, resourceful and limpid. With Vénus Khoury-Ghata, she has given the English-language reader a major Francpphone poet in all her sensuality, intelligence and cultural richness.'
Patrick McGuinness


Format: Paperback

Size: 189 x 118 mm

64 Pages

ISBN: 9781786940117

Publication: April 11, 2017

Series: Pavilion Poetry

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