Keija Parssinen, Assistant Professor of English, has published a book review of Exhausted on the Cross by Najwan Darwish in the Spring 2021 issue of World Literature Today. It is available in its entirety online.
In Najwan Darwish’s unflinching new collection of poems, Exhausted on the Cross, we witness a poet in conflict with his calling, conversing with bards across the ages as he struggles with the burdens of his craft. Some of that struggle, such as a sense of alienation from family and friends or the pains of empathy, is universal to the artist, while other aspects remain particular to Darwish, as a Palestinian scribe. His is a double weariness; it is not only Darwish the Palestinian who hangs exhausted on the cross but also Darwish the poet, who has discovered the cost of being a man mourning the entire world, as he describes the titular poet in the sly, arresting “The Appearances of Taha Muhammad Ali.”