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My Review of Salah Stétié's Poem "Seize paroles voilées"

In many ways, the short poem Seize paroles voilées* by Salah Stétié exemplifies the distinct sense of lyricism that characterizes much of the Lebanese writer and poet's prolific oeuvre. Composed in free verse and laden with natural and rich imagery, each of the sixteen stanzas in this poem broaches themes that have long preoccupied Stétié, from the pursuit of love and life to death and the occasional frailties of the human spirit. 

Cover of Salah Stétié's "Seize paroles voilées"

Dedicated "à un lieu de brûlure" which is never specifically identified, the poem is both deeply allegorical and deceptively simple. As such, it invites the reader not only to unveil each of the "paroles voilées" according to his or her own interpretation and experience, but also to participate in the poet's general celebration of nature and the wide range of human emotions. The oblique illustrations by Jean-Gilles Badaire that accompany each of the different stanzas in the limited-edition printing also contribute a great deal toward the air of mysticism that reigns over the work as a whole.

Reviewed by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Stanford University

* Seize paroles voilées by Salah Stétié and Jean-Gilles Badaire; FATA MORGANA; 1st edition (January 1, 1995); ISBN-10: ‎2851943928  ISBN-13:  978-2851943927

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