Book Review: Liberty Walks Naked

Book Review: Liberty Walks Naked March 11, 2024

I recently finished a book that I didn’t expect to feel so emotional with. Even though there’s been only one book that has made me cry, ever, Liberty Walks Naked: Poems, by Maram Al-Massri, translated by Theo Dorgan, made it hard to keep reading, not because it’s bad, but because of how raw, honest, and unfiltered it is. And still, it’s impossible not to love it.

  • Format: 60 pages, Paperback.
  • Published: April 24, 2018 by Southword Editions.

In this new collection of poems, Maram al-Masri offers herself as witness on behalf of her suffering people, speaking for those who can no longer speak, articulating with and for them the passion for liberty that is the driving force of their struggle for justice. Here is a profound, heart-wrenching lament for all victims of that terrible war, for all the numberless maimed and dead.”Masri’s poetry vividly encapsulates the frailty of our human condition in a brutal society. It can flay you at first reading. It is fair to see Masri as a love poet whose verse spares no truth of love’s joys and mercilessness, to whose work war then came, as it tore her native Syria apart, and overwhelmed it, and her.” – Ed Vulliamy, THE GUARDIAN

Although brief, this book left me breathless. The Syrian war is something sensitive to me, and the description, along the images, Maram used made me feel all the pain, depression, and grief reflected in the pages. Even though I haven’t been there, it’s impossible not to have empathy or get affected in some way. This is just pure, raw hurt mixed with the highest devotion.

If I had to pick a favorite , it would be “The Over Made Up Presenter,” precisely for its rawness. It was one that I read several times, not out of morbidity, but amazement. It just a few lines long with very simple words, yet the power it conveys is undeniable.

I obviously wish this had been longer, with more content and more reflections, more emotions and memories. There’s a lot to say about this whole situation, and while the result is amazing, I feel that the author could have made a longer product based on her feelings even though that the book works just as it is right now.

For those who care and want to know on a personal, visceral level what the Syrian war is about, what kind of system and what kind of people are involved, what kind of feelings are provoked, Liberty Walks Naked: Poems would be my first option. I will certainly check more of Maram Al-Massri’s work, too.

About Bader Saab
I’m an Arab witch and journalist, also with a master’s degree in digital research. I have worked as a book reviewer and written about pre-Islamic folklore. You can connect with me by Private Message on Instagram: @saab.bader. You can read more about the author here.

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