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The Language of Gibraltar
The Language of Gibraltar illustrates Kuhligk’s sovereignty and courage as a poet, one who clear-sightedly sounds out his position, and whose place is his country, his time, his history and this world – as a Homo politicus, a lover and a poet.
Björn Kuhligk’s lyrical voice was never as distinct as in this volume of poetry. The form of the long poem, which also lends the book its name, is central. Back in 2014, when it was comparatively easy to block out the problem of people in boats as a one that belonged to the Mediterranean coastline, Kuhligk was haunted by reports of the notorious border fence in Melilla. He travelled there to get a more complete picture and to find a language for what he would experience and see. With The Language of Gibraltar, a firmly political writer speaks out and shows what poetry is capable of: it can assault and imposition us by creating images we cannot shake off. And it can touch us to the quick with its raw tone. Yet a purely emotional response is not enough.