Thursday, December 5, 2019

RAIN AND EMBERS, an immigrant poet and artist comes clean and goes clear


Kindle edition
$8.00 ebook or paperback, available now

Rating: 4.5* of five

The (Self-)Publisher Says: A poetic story of survival, Rain and Embers touches on far-reaching themes of migration, forgiveness, and love.

An urgent and necessary study in dualities, Ali Nuri offers a migrant's perspective on what it means to be torn between East and West, sun and moon, the past and the present. Following the story of a refugee in a constant state of flux, Rain and Embers encapsulates the human condition--one where a sense of belonging is elusive amidst an ever-changing landscape.

Above all, Rain and Embers is an exploration of fractured identities, acceptance, and finding a place to call home. When all the ashes wash away, beauty remains in the wreckage, waiting to bloom once more.

this dance of you and I
is the flickering of flames
a fire raging in the dead of night

to be yours
is to be entangled
with the source of poetry

the letters shape themselves
line after line they assemble
from a fountain of ink

your love
is a mother to words
a parent to poetic purpose

but alas
what is to remain
of kindling if not ash?

My Review: How does an Arab immigrant to the US, living in Las Vegas...possibly the most American place on Earth's surface, parched and dry and hot and gaudy...process his fragmented identity?
Who is he, why is he that person, and most of all...why should you care?

Because identity as an American is front and center in the life of the country in the 21st century. Because the answers to those questions matter more than ever. Historically immigration has stirred violent passions in the hoi polloi as the lower classes seek to be better than someone, anyone at all, and the upper classes seek to ensure their fiscal and social stranglehold on the national discourse that it may never be allowed to stray into a real, egalitarian call for justice.

This is what you see before you right now, theydies and gentlethem. The latest salvo in a long-running war against ordinary people by those who profit from their labor. And Ali Nuri, disadvantaged in this country by several layers of identity, has prospered, is contributing to the society that would turn on him in a heartbeat because he's darker skinned than the ideal held up to all who enter this closed and inbred culture. He works to make our American lives more easeful in the vehicle automation sector. People like me will benefit greatly from the increased mobility the eventual rise of the driverless car will enable. And this young poet, this artist with a tender heart and a cold, insecure perch among us, gifts us all with his most intimate thoughts and observations.

Make no mistake: Outsiders are the best poets. Ali Nuri's eyes are looking at the same landscape your eyes are, fellow Americans and foreign readers, but they're seeing what those not here and those whose place here is unquestioned can not see. Then he tells us what we look like, but manages to be kind about it. (Most of the time.) So what drove his family out of Iraq? He tells you directly here, and a more damning indictment of our nation's inhospitable welcome of those in need you won't read soon.

Ali gifted me a copy of his book. He's a photographer as well as a poet, and he understands the human costs of making art deeply and indelibly. His experience of the life of an incomer to a closed world, one whose love and whose life aren't valued by those around him, informs every line and every frame of his work.

I don't like poetry. I do like Ali Nuri's writing. I learned to love his depths and snort tolerantly at his shallows. I learned to think of him as Ali, not as "the immigrant poet guy." Do the same, you won't be disappointed.

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