Desert Songs

Yahia Lababidi


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“Lababidi seems to have something other, and otherworldly, in mind. The poet crafts a mythic Egypt… a land abundant with connotation, fertile with image and nuance. Its mountains are an “imperishable memory of the desert/craniums exposed, crumbling horribly” and a “school of inscrutable sphinxes/master storytellers sworn to secrecy.” The desert “is a cemetery/picking its teeth with bones.”

Words are an imperfect tool with which the poet tries to reflect a spirit that is the poem’s true subject… Perhaps he will approach more closely the unreachable goal of mining the spirit that in his view masses beneath the surface of what a poet can directly observe or his words precisely describe.