Selected Poems of A.C. Jacobs (co-edited with Anthony Rudolf)
Nameless Country gathers poems by the Scottish-Jewish poet Arthur ‘A.C.’ Jacobs, whose work, somewhat critically neglected in the past, has gained new resonance for twenty-first-century readers. Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust, Jacobs in his poems confronts his complex cultural identity as a Jew in Scotland, as a Scot in England, and as a diaspora Jew in Israel, Italy, Spain and the UK.
A self-made migrant, Jacobs was a wanderer through other lands and lived in search, as he puts it, of the ‘right language’, which ‘exists somewhere / Like a country’. His poems are attuned to linguistic and geographic otherness and to the lingering sense of exile that often persists in a diaspora. In his quiet and philosophical verse we recognize an individual’s struggle for identity in a world shaped by migration, division and dislocation.
"… Nameless Country works well to showcase the most important themes of Jacobs’s work, and demonstrates how the thematic focus of his poetry correlates with the chronology of his writing. Place, language, religion, and diaspora are the most prevalent themes.
In our time of Trump and Brexit, with anti-immigration rhetoric on the rise, the poetry of A. C. Jacobs achieves a new relevance in its celebration of humanity and diversity, and in its deep understanding of the importance of an inclusive and expansive understanding of where and how we might belong."
Will Burns, The Bottle Imp (UK)
"These are poems that speak with directness and integrity not just of and to Jewish experience but with an understanding of exile and disconnection that will resonate with all dispersed people [...] He should be required reading for those who try to insist that migration should mean the abandonment of other places, other lives."
Jenni Calder, Jewish Quarterly (UK)