New Internationalist books and publications

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‘This collection makes an important contribution to the literature of which it forms a part. It is both a landmark and a profoundly involving act of collective witness.’ - Andrew Motion, Britain’s Poet Laureate, 1999 to 2009.

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‘Many of these poems have grown out of horrifying circumstances, yet they succeed in being a heart-warming testament to the resilience and creativity of the human spirit. This is a beautiful, powerful and informative collection.’ - Kate Allen, Director, Amnesty International UK.


Dinyar Godrej's editorial choices ensure an accessible journey through an array of injustices and triumphs. This is largely due to the absence of poems with 'an overbearing emphasis on craft; such poems can make reading them a chore'. Godrej's editorial stance raises the issue of whether working with 'difficulty' and 'formal constraints' are not in themselves vital forms of protest.

Overall, the careful ordering of new and well-known voices creates a powerful choral effect in a book that lends itself to being experienced in one sitting. The effect is humbling and breathtaking highlights include John Felstiner's translation of Paul Celan's 'Death Fugue' with the slow infusion of German within the English repetitions, and the highgly patterned poem 'Rich Woman, Poor Woman', written by an unknown working class Chilean woman.
- Saradha Soobrayen, _Modern Poetry in Translation_, Third Series, No. 13 .

Should you be sitting on the fence as to whether or not to flick through the pages of this publication, let me compel you to choose to engage and discover a new manifestation of the age-old union of art and politics. ‘Fire in the Soul’ reminds us that human rights – although increasingly marred by debates over the construction of an ideology, the politicisation of enshrined legal mechanisms and what sometimes appears to be a disguise for neo-imperialist agendas – are more simply and primordially an aspiration to our collective possibility. In the words of its editor Dinyar Godrej, 'The urge to realise who we are, the journey of becoming and being is at the heart of what we call human rights.' - Amira Kheir, Pambazuka News.

These poems are a testament to the profound resilience of the human spirit... Every one of these poems comes from a place of great pain, of nearly unimaginable suffering, and all offer stubborn rays of hope. The themes range from the ravages of war and genocide to political and gender persecution, from famine to censorship, from child labor to neglect of the elderly. Some of the poets are among the leading voices of the century: Anna Akhmatova, Margaret Atwood, Paul Celan, Pablo Neruda, Adrienne Rich, Wislawa Szymborska. Others have emerging reputations or were known only in their homelands. In vivid and precise images, these poems speak to readers of all ages and backgrounds of the fire in the soul that allows us to carry on when one more step may seem impossible. - Robert Saunderson, _School Library Journal_.

Poetry Kit Book of the Month, May 2010

'The book, not only a rich resource as a reminder of man's inhumanity to man involving acts of collective witness, also bows to the testimony of the power of a good poem to stand alone. [...] It is evident that the editor has worked hard to find poems where the translators have also done their work well in order to preserve the authentic original feeling of the first language of the poem.' - Wendy French, _The London Magazine_.

Here is poetry of vital engagement that goes to the heart of what it means to be human and addresses the rights that are a fundamental measure of our civilization. Direct and diverse, all these poems ask is for you to start reading.

Includes poems by Adonis, Anna Akhmatova, Margaret Atwood, Paul Celan, Nazim Hikmet, Taslima Nasrin, Pablo Neruda, Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal, Adrienne Rich, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Wisława Szymborska.

Foreword by Andrew Motion. Published in association with Amnesty International, who receive royalties from each sale of Fire in the Soul.

Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
Page extent: 184 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-906523-16-9
Publication date: September 2009 (UK), November 2009 (US)

Date added: August 25, 2009

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