Salute The Word
By Professor M.R. Ali
Matador – £9.99
Salute the Word isn’t at all – from a literary perspective at least – what it purports to be. And with such a quasi-powerful, all encompassing title, I was at least expecting to be somewhat touched, if not moved.
But when a poem comes replete with such an appalling, cumbersome title as ‘The Cucumber Epic’ – I absolutely kid thee not – then all (wrongly assumed) foregone assumptions are to be belittled beyond belief.
Were there to have been even the slightest hint of alliteration such as that of the last three words (belittled beyond belief), then this book might have been marginally acceptable. As is, its so tempestuously frustrating, and dare I say it, inadvertently jocular, I wasn’t sure whether to take it to the limit, take it on the chin or (remotely) take it seriously.
Might I add that this was acutely substantiated by the following:
That is why I preferred
To be called gherkin the pickle
So that I could tickle
The daughter of the fickle
And when I saw mother hen
Then I could giggle.
I gained respectability
Not that I’ve anything against cucumbers mind, but please…
To be fair, Professor M.R. Ali’s love of poetry began in Kerbala, Iraq, the place of his birth; so a lot of what he has written may well have been lost in translation. But surely not all of what he has written?
I’ve read and very much appreciated numerous works of international poetry, but this unfortunately, has to be one fo the weakest collections I’ve ever come across. Which just leaves me to say that Ali really isn’t doing himself any favours.
He ought to either find a far better translator, find something harrowing or tender or real to write about, or salute a lot more of his own imagination.