ISBN-10: 0872869016
ISBN-13: 9780872869011
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 07/25/2023
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.90" W, 0.90" H

Published by City Lights

Emerald Wounds: Selected Poems

Editor: Emilie Moorhouse
Translator: Emilie Moorhouse
Editor: Garrett Caples


Price: $16.07


Rediscover Joyce Mansour, the most significant Surrealist poet to emerge from 1950s Paris.

“You know very well, Joyce, that you are for me–and very objectively too–the greatest poet of our time. Surrealist poetry, that’s you.”–André Breton

Joyce Mansour, a Syrian Jewish exile from Egypt, was 25 years old when she published her first book in Paris in 1953. Her fierce, macabre, erotically charged works caught the eye of André Breton, who welcomed her into his Surrealist group and became her lifelong friend and ally. Despite her success in surrealist circles, her books received scant attention from the literary establishment, which is hardly surprising since Mansour’s favorite topics happened to be two of society’s greatest fears: death and unfettered female desire.

Now, over half a century later, Mansour’s time has come. Emerald Wounds collects her most important work, spanning the entire arc of her career, from the gothic, minimalist fragments of her first published work to the serpentine power of her poems of the 1980s. In fresh new translations, Mansour’s voice surges forth uncensored and raw, communicating the frustrations, anger, and sadness of an intelligent, worldly woman who defies the constraints and oppression of a male-dominated society. Mansour is a poet the world needs today.

Read More
In The News
More In The News

"I'm so grateful to Moorhouse for her helping bring this remarkable poet's work to English readers, and help expand our knowledge of women writers throughout the world–helping buck against the historical chauvinism Mansour endured. I know my bookshelf will be better for it."–Diana Arterian, LitHub's The Annotated Nightstand

"Emilie Moorhouse's sharp, steamy translation of Syrian-Jewish poet Joyce Mansour . . . Surreal incarnations of raw female power–erotic, rageful–permeate."–Rebecca Morgan Frank, LitHub

"This is a very welcome translation, one English readers can trust. Mansour should be far more read (in both French and English) than she is. Emilie Moorhouse has performed an invaluable service to her and to French literature in English."–Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno, Cable Street

"Slippery, stained, and gloriously indelicate, Joyce Mansour reveals to us the grisly face of eros."–Elaine Kahn, author of Women in Public

"Fierce, uncompromising, intelligent, weird, assertive, abject–Joyce Mansour's poems are a long cry of female rage and desire. The world is 'a shitting bird, ' the dead 'bloom like Parma hams, ' and the patriarchy subverted, mocked, & challenged at every turn, in personal relationships with men, in the fatuous advice of women's magazines. 'I do not know hell, ' Mansour writes, 'But my body has been burning ever since I was born.' These poems are the searing result of that life."–Kim Addonizio, author of Now We're Getting Somewhere

"It is high time (and way past it!) that someone bring to publishing daylight the truly great range of poems by the English/Egyptian writer artist/entertainer Joyce Patricia Adès, whom we salute as Joyce Mansour. Emilie Moorhouse has just accomplished this feat and we can gladly say, to this bilingual and welcome presentation of a large selection of those texts with City Lights, a very loud hooray!"Mary Ann Caws, author of Symbolism, Dada, Surrealism: Selected Essays

"Among the many dark pleasures of Emerald Wounds, most marvelous is Joyce Mansour's canny adaptation of the Surrealist impulse towards revolt to subversively femme ends. In Emilie Moorhouse's astonishingly fresh translations, these palm-sized poems are arousing, alarming, and, finally, transformational, offering outlandish anti-psalms, sex tips from the devil, adroit instruction manuals for surviving the eradicating world. Like emeralds held so tightly they bite the flesh, these poems are compressed, brilliant works of maximum refulgence."–Joyelle McSweeney, author of Toxicon and Arachne

"In Joyce Mansour's exuberant, macabre, strange and sexy poems, I find such kinship, such lineage, such permission. It is such a delight to read this collection and meet her. These poems invite me to be brave, to be loud, to cackle and mourn and seduce. I only wish we'd met sooner, that I'd known sooner to place myself in her lineage."–Safia Elhillo, author of Girls That Never Die

"Transgressive delight and terror of the supreme surreal feminist in this remarkable and most original book of dreams. Mansour, 'an animal of the night, ' has been waiting to be reclaimed and counted. She who 'prunes the sky with carnivorous thighs, ' who ruse lies in a chignon is wonderfully abetted in these excellent, luminous translations. A poet who listens to the 'dialect of undressed sexes, ' and 'pierces the stagnant eye of the night' is the aligning, yet jolting force we've all been anticipating. This is her moment."–Anne Waldman, author of Bard, Kinetic

"In the poetry of Joyce Mansour, we feel the churn of the devouring and excreting body and its parts. Each part emits parts: the lover births his sex; the receptive octopus outputs its legs like a burst seedpod. Vicious as childbirth, delicate as the tension in a throat about to speak, Mansour's poems demand we attend to the forbidden maximums of our desires."–Sophia Dahlin, author of Natch

"This legendary Surrealist woman poet with her singular lyric fusion of love and death, phantasies of gleeful and grim inexorability, constructs radical strategies of irrational disjunction. . . .Translated with verve by Emilie Moorhouse."–Norma Cole, author of Fate News

"Emerald Wounds feels like a resuscitation. Joyce Mansour's Arab Jewish consciousness sticks its tongue out in the face of macho Euro mores. Given new breath by translator Emilie Moorhouse, Mansour's work is phantastic, inverted, explicit, full of spells. It seems to predict and override the world's weakening lust, calling out from a past of feverish slits, Sekhmet and the joy of piss."–Tamara Faith Berger, author of Maidenhead

"A revelation and delight to see: a poet whose work still speaks with immediacy decades after she was alive. We love seeing the original language juxtaposed against the translation – here done superbly by Emilie Moorhouse. Brava to all."–Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

"Sparse and elegant . . . shot through with blood and violence, and a fierce sexuality borne of a life veined with loss and exile."–Susan Norton, Carmichael's Bookstore (Louisville, KY)

More Reviews


ISBN-10: 0872869016
ISBN-13: 9780872869011
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 07/25/2023
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.90" W, 0.90" H
Skip to content