Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth

by Ruth Padel


Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth Synopsis

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014.

'Making is our defence against the dark...' Through images of conflict and craftsmanship, Ruth Padel's powerful new poems address the Middle East, tracing a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction. An oud, the central instrument of Middle Eastern music , is made and broken. An ancient synagogue survives attacks, a Palestinian boy in a West Bank refugee camp learns capoeira, and a guide shows us Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity during a siege. At the heart of the book are Christ's last words from the Cross. Uniting this moving collection is the common ground shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam: a vision of human life as pilgrimage and struggle but also as music and making. With care and empathy, Ruth Padel suggests how rifts in the Holy Land speak to conflict in our own hearts. 'We identify. Some chasm / through the centre must be in and of us all.'

Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth Press Reviews

'There are points where one feels Padel is a poetic Daniel Barenboim. It is inlaid poetry... as if Padel were embroidering a tapestry. Each poem turns out to be an instrument and Padel knows how to play. Her command of register is masterly... There is no doubting Padel's accomplishment, her poems stand tall partly because she tends to rise about the personal.' -- Kate Kellaway Observer


'Padel is one of our most talented writers. She turns her multi-layered poetic attention to the Middle East, seeking peace and harmony through sensitive and moving poems that offer hope even as they reflect upon struggle.' -- Bel Mooney Daily Mail


'Lyrical and sensual, albeit with a keen awareness that in war zones, music, love and poetry are sidelined even as they become more vital. Padel skilfully juxtaposes the modern world with the ancient.' -- Suzi Feay Independent on Sunday


'Padel's great characteristic is her range. Making an Oud interweaves contemporary Middle Eastern politics, the history and culture of the Abrahamic religions, natural beauty and love poetry. Padel is not writing partisan polemic but attempting something much more difficult, a kind of cultural synthesis.' Independent


'Superb collection... Sorrowful and elegiac...though it ends on a note not entirely without hope' -- Lesley Mcdowell Glasgow Sunday Herald

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780701188160
Publication date: 03/07/2014
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780701188160
Publication date: 3rd July 2014
Author: Ruth Padel
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 80 pages
Genres: Poetry,
Categories: Poetry by individual poets,

About Ruth Padel

Ruth Padel has published several collections of poetry and won the National Poetry Prize; her collection Voodoo Shop was shortlisted for the Whitbread and T S Eliot Prizes. She is a Fellow of the Society of Authors and London Zoological Society.

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