NIGHT by Etel Adnan in The New York Times
"A meditative heir to Nietzsche’s aphorisms, Rilke’s 'Book of Hours' and the verses of Sufi mysticism, 'Night' is an intricate thread of reflections on pain and beauty.
To 'constitute spirit,' as Adnan puts it — or become our best selves, as others might have it — she advocates opening our minds and memories to encounter the world, to nurture a love from our radical correspondences with the dispossessed or overshadowed:
I entered once someone’s memory, I say through his brain, the seat of his illuminations. The place was planted with olive trees, and mathematical equations. On one of the trees was hanging a Van Gogh painting. The ground of that house of memory had been once the bed of a river that had run through still another person’s brain. All this constitutes my spirit.
Adnan’s language summons transcendent experiences, like shibboleths the poet utters to cross a room without 'thinking' it. An empathy with other worlds has been a constant in this Arab-American’s work, whether embracing Syrian immigrants and Palestinian orphans in her classic Lebanese civil war novella 'Sitt Marie Rose' — essential reading to grasp our current refugee crises — or here in 'Night.' Adnan’s collection is “a cosmic phenomenon,” to borrow another phrase from the book, “elevating us far above our daily condition.'"
- Benjamin Hollander for The New York Times