Review by Kay hardy Campbell in Aramco World (March-April 2013)
This pocket-sized volume of translated classical Arabic poetry is part of a 15-volume series exploring poetry around the world, meant to accompany the publisher’s travel guides. T. J. Gorton, who studied Arabic at Oxford and lived in the Arab world for many years, selected excerpts from the works of 25 celebrated Arab poets who lived before 1000 CE. He chose verses from the world of the Bedouin and the glittering cities of the Arab East that would appeal to western readers. They feature strong emotions, vivid incidents, daring acts and memorable characters. Each is introduced with the poet’s story and the poem’s context. Many of Gorton’s fine translations are metered, echoing a feel of the originals. General readers interested in the greats of classical Arabic poetry will enjoy this accessible anthology. Voices of Arabia is a companion to Gorton’s previously published volume in this series that focused on Moorish poetry of al-Andalus.