A Red Cherry on a White-tiled Floor presents a selection of poems from two book-length sequences which, when combined, create a unified discussion of the conundrum of human desire. Al-Massri deftly, and with coy generosity, reveals the lion in the lamb and the lamb in the lion. These poems mix submissive and rebellious energy to reveal men and women who are at once crushingly naïve and stunningly resilient.
It was not your fault.
It was not my fault.
It was the wind
that brought down
the ripe apricot
of my desire.
“Maram al-Massri comes as a shock. She writes about all the taboo subjects—physical passion, faithlessness, adultery, loneliness, despair—with candor and intensity.” —London Times
“Short, vivid, frankly erotic, and remarkable for their emotional intelligence, Syrian poet al-Massri’s poems are as startling in English as they must have been to their first Arabic readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“Al-Massri’s short-lined poems about desire, loneliness, and anguish are charged, yet tempered by a plaintiveness that stops some poems in their tracks… The contradictions and complicated humanness—the charged-yet-contained emotion—of these poems give them their edge.” —Austin American-Statesman
“Clear, direct, and conversational in tone, these short works peer through the window of love and examine private passion… Recommended for all libraries.” —Library Journal
“The spare, emotive verse of A Red Cherry on a White-tiled Floor reflects definite bravery on the part of Syrian poet Maram sl-Massri.” —Foreword
“The poems speak to the dilemma of Arab women in the modern world; al-Massri’s ardor and humor speak to us all.” —Lahontan Valley News
“Sexy, mischievous, and utterly delightful, (al-Massri’s) poems are epigrammatic, seductively clever, and, at their best, unforgettable.” —San Diego Union-Tribune