In his memoir of his time in prison, “Villon and I,” the Algerian writer Mounsi reflects: “Wherever our anguish is at its worst, it’s books above all that save us.” In these uncertain times, we suggest the following expressions of strength and humanity to soothe, restore, affirm, and hearten.
Taiwan’s Ye Mimi turns to the emancipating power of nature in “The Ringing of the Rain Has a Forgiving Grace”: “A tangerine sun gave my birdcage a ripe rinsing.”
In her “what do you write about,” Estonian poet Triin Soomets speaks to the universal: “what do you write about? / asked the Jordanian poet. / About love, I answered. / There isn’t anything else, is there.”
From Libya, Hawa Gamodi turns grief to hope in “Awaiting a Poem”: “I stand with my heart agape / To observe this desolate world / As it falls into ruin . . . There's so much love / beauty / and light . . . I paint a glorious world / Illuminated by a poem”
And in “Illuminations” the great Iranian poet Sohrab Sepehri lights the way through gloom: “I see a way in the darkness. / I am a lantern.”