Fabulous New Anthology of Arab American Poetry
My dear friend Hayan Charara has edited an amazing new anthology of poetry titled Inclined to Speak. It just got reviewed in Booklist:
Booklist, April 1, 2008Order a copy now!
Make no assumptions. As with all double-named ethnicities, the designation "Arab American" encompasses people of dramatically diverse backgrounds with stories of family, war, exile, lost languages, cherished traditions, forbidden love, and the art of reinventing home and self. An Arab American is an immigrant or American-born; a Muslim, Christian, or Jew; a human being faced with negative stereotypes, made worse in the wake of 9/11. Poet Charara has gathered 160 clarion poems by 39 Arab American poets (each briskly profiled) to create a potent and synergistic anthology that illuminates the slippery elements of identity. Familiar voices--Naomi Shihab Nye, Jack Marshall, and Lawrence Joseph--combine with poets who though new to most readers will be quickly embraced, so direct, lithesome, and affecting are their poems about the solace of nature and the paradoxes of the human condition. Here are poems of Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Egypt, of New York, Detroit, and South Dakota. Born in a Palestinian refugee camp Suheir Hammad reaches for the essence: "you're either with life, or against it. / affirm life."