The Neverfield is an energetically lyrical work by Nathalie Handal. She begins this book length poem, “Riding through the skies wearing different costumes.” An apparent parallel to her own life, for Nathalie Handal is a poet of the world who embraces her universal ties while still searching for the meaning of her roots.
In truth, The Neverfield could be any Palestinian or other person longing for meaning in their existence. There is such passion in these words.
“I felt you browsing through my mind… / and warned you that / the republic inside of you / might / tumble / down / your / chest… / warned you / not to go near the notebooks / piled up by the cup of tea / and the half-moon… / instead to go beside the clay sculpture / by the pinewood… / I heard the march of the patriots / you read the notebooks…/ stood in the middle / of dying and death”
Handal uses her craft well, spacing in the book accentuates her words, and she is a wordsmith of incredible gift or at minimum very learned ability.
Nathalie mimics the spirit of another Palestinian poet. The poet referred to as entering the world on the 13th day of March is Mahmoud Darwish. There is a real sense Darwish’s presence in her words which so beautifully seek to establish The Neverfield as both a place in one’s mind and a geographical place that can be found for real in a poet’s words.
This book is an easy read. It almost glides once started like a self propelled lawn mower pulling you along with little strain. This is a book I will return to often. A book I recommend.