There is a voice singing in the desert, one that releases tremors of anguish, forgiveness, pride and love.
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The singer is Ali Nuri and his tongue, his pen, sends vibrations of feeling all throughout the bones of his readers, over and over — an ouroboros of poetry.
Nuri’s 2019 collection Rain and Embers is such a magnificent read because there is a beautiful freedom coursing within it. He is not bogged down by poetic forms but rather edits his work to best convey the message of his piece, like a singer carefully choosing when to rise and fall in volume. His eye is cast on several different subject matters as well so the reader does not need to worry about staving off boredom.
For example, in his piece “Scorched Earth,” he captures how humans and human relationships are incredibly variegated when he examines how different a father ‘s relationship is with his two children. The speaker in this poem reflects on the abuse wrought by the father:
and yet I never forgot the red glow,
the way you made grey metal
burn bright with anger,
the way it seared my skin—
the incineration of my innocence
And yet, despite this harsh abuse, the speaker is able to see that the father is almost like a different person entirely with his daughter, so much so that “…I found your redemption / in the love you have for her / your daughter, / my sister”. Nuri captures a simple truth that is so tragically human. All humans have the capacity to be both villainous and loving at all times. With his poetry Nuri reveals that a person is like a cut stone. From one angle, a certain glisten can be observed, but turn it just a fraction and new lights will glimmer from each different angle. The whole stone can never be truly seen at once.
Nuri also uses a simple touch to point out human kind’s abject folly in killing to glorify a god. In “Linear,” N. succinctly points out that “…gods and myths / will become one…” and that human history has proven that both will be “…buried within / the hourglass…” His tone, his word placement are are at once simple and elegant.
His poetry is such that…”it lingers long after it’s gone, / living on in the remnants it leaves behind /
in the memories of happiness / in the shadows of sadness”. Nuri does not leave his readers wanting either (although they will crave more) as Rain and Embers is nearly 200 pages long.
Two pieces in particular that should be red are “Necropolis of the Sun” and “Eve and Her Mother”. Both are an immense pleasure to read and display not only Ali Nuri’s talent for keeping his readers attention but also his skill at emoting through poetry.