The Bow and the Reed
These ekphrastic poems were written by Nineb Lamassu as part of British Museum's 'I am Ashurbanipal' exhibition. The poet wrote these poems during a number of visits to the exhibition and they were translated by Jamie Osborn. This collection is the first set of ekphtrastic poems to have been published in Assyrian and Nineb Lamassu's innovative ways of toying with his language feels like one is reading the tablets of an ancient Assyrian scribe: each poem is formed like a clay tablet, each tablet with a different shape, beauty and content.
Review of Nineb Lamassu's poetry:
As Nazar Derani, remarks in his critical study of Modern Assyrian poetry on Nineb Lamassu's poetic language: "despite the fact he uses a vocabulary that is not in dialy use - to a degree that oblidges the reader to use a dictionary, but his carefully selected words contain an energy and a spiritual pecularity because he is able to feel these words and use them like they have never been used. Thus, he grants these words a new life, to be precise he turns them into new created beings. And this is not simple task!"
He goes further and comments on Nineb Lamassu's poetic imagery: "What sets Nineb Lamassu's poetic image aside from other poets is the fact that Nineb Lamassu's poetic image remains the same but keeps on moving along with the poet's vision, in an other word, he adds the element of montage; making you feel you are standing before a panoramic image where is in reality it is a single image having imagining it thus."
- Nazar Derani