Rooted in Algerian experience, "State of Emergency" speaks of urgent concerns everywhere - oppression, resistance, state violence, traumas and private dreams. Soleiman Adel Guemar's poetry sings of life's sensual pleasures in the face of the grotesque morbidity of violent political repression. In her introduction to this collection, Lisa Appignanesi writes: "Soleiman Adel Guemar is almost exactly as old as the independent Republic of Algeria. He has witnessed its terrible history, the crimes against humanity which attended its birth and the enduring 'state of emergency' under which life has been blighted ever since. This volume marks an important moment: a record from the inside of a history which is too palpably of our times".She also writes: "Where before we had only newspaper headlines, stereotypical Algerians, or the dry, if conscientious, reports of NGOs, we now have a living voice, both political and lyrical - an intensely individual voice which speaks out freely and traces the lineaments of a tragic history...His surly ironies have a fighter's edge, a tough beauty which ropes us in.
Britain has inadvertently inherited a political poet of stature, one whose language sings whether he is attacking the face of grim authority or dreaming of that other asylum which is an imagined Algeria of peace. In the excellent translation by Tom Cheesman and John Goodby, Guemar's poems carry all their native force and brusque wit."