Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names
In this artfully crafted collection, Soraya Mariam Peerbaye leaps onto the stage with aplomb. She examines how naming expresses our relationship with each other and the natural world and how meaning is affected when there is no permanent human settlement to remember names.
Binding her book into three segments, she explores in exquisite detail the concrete and the ephemeral — objects of play, profession, and hobbies. Here is a poetic treatise on the semantics of naming and gesture; how they can express possession and power over another, or kinship, inquisitiveness, openness, mercy, and love. This astonishing sequence of poems moves from the tip of South America to the Antarctic and back, with a lightness of being in the floating world of incisive language.
"These are marvellous poems, deft, rich, searching, and with remarkable range: tender in recalling her father's French and Creole roots, spare and brilliant in depicting the landscape of Antarctica. For Peerbaye words connect lives across time and space. Reading her poems sharpens our own connection with the world." — John Steffler
"If the poet has a duty to see and name, Soraya Peerbaye has answered the call. I believe in this, the object, quotidian, beloved, she writes, fully aware of how names change as we encounter them, lose and regain and even rename them, in turn renaming us. Unapologetically gentle and intimate, this ambitious first book is not a mere coming-of-age, but a coming into one's own, introducing us to an explorer aware of the joys and dangers of intrusion." — Priscila Uppal
Pub date: October 2, 2009