This is a beautiful volume from the first page to the last. Angus Calder's introduction and Tom Leonard's preface give enough information and analysis to allow the reader to enter into dialogue with the poetry of Mahmood Jamal. Jamal's voice is inspiring, harrowing, thought-provoking, tender and clear-sighted. It is the kind of voice the world needs to hear. This poetry talks to the reader on a personal level about matters of political urgency that are vital to us all. There is a clear sense of a writer committed to a human scale of interaction, of communication, and an approach to art and life that is grounded in the local and the human. On reading it I immediately thought of the great political-humanitarian poets of the twentieth-century: Brecht, Neruda and Erich Fried. I was also moved to think of the humanitarian moments to be found in eighteenth-century Scottish poets like Burns and Tannahill: especially by Mahmood Jamal's 'Song', which has the final chorus: "How many times do we have to part / before our love can end / How many times do we have to meet / before we can be friends." This is a wonderful book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. [Jim Ferguson]
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