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my sky is on my shoulders: a gathering of Palestinian poets

Event date: 
Friday, June 25, 2021 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here. 

Charis presents my sky is on my shoulders, a gathering of four Palestinian poets, to recite their poems and discuss all between earth and sky. We mark this long moment of upheaval by lingering with the lyric, knowing that this deepens recognitions only skimmed in tallies and headlines. Featuring: George Abraham, Zaina Alsous, Deema K. Shehabi, and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.

George Abraham (they/he) is a Palestinian american poet and writer from Jacksonville, FL. Their debut collection Birthright (Button Poetry, 2020) won the Big Other Book Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry. He is a board member for the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI), a recipient of fellowships from Kundiman and The Boston Foundation, and winner of the 2017 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational's Best Poet title. Their work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Baffler, The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Mizna, and elsewhere. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard University, Abraham currently teaches at Emerson College, and will be a Litowitz MFA+MA Candidate at Northwestern University in the fall. 

Zaina Alsous is a writer and movement worker in South Florida. Her first full-length collection A Theory of Birds won the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize, and was published by the University of Arkansas Press in the fall of 2019

Deema K. Shehabi is the author of Thirteen Departures From the Moon and co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here (PM Press), for which she received the Northern California Book Award's NCBR Recognition Award. She is also co-author of Diaspo/Renga with Marilyn Hacker and the winner of the Nazim Hikmet poetry competition in 2018.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her first book, Water & Salt (Red Hen Press) won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry. Her first chapbook, Arab in Newsland, won the 2016 Two Sylvias Press Prize. Her chapbook, Letters from the Interior, (Diode 2019), is a finalist for the 2020 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

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Event address: 
Birthright Cover Image
ISBN: 9781943735679
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Button Poetry - April 7th, 2020

Abraham's highly anticipated debut Birthright constructs a dialogue in which every pronoun is a Free Palestine.

Through poems of immense emotion, and the use of alluring form, Abraham crafts work that examines what we come to own by existing.

A Theory of Birds: Poems (Etel Adnan Poetry Series) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781682261040
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Arkansas Press - October 14th, 2019

Winner of the 2019 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize

Inside the dodo bird is a forest, Inside the forest
a peach analog, Inside the peach analog a woman, Inside
the woman a lake of funerals

This layering of bird, woman, place, technology, and ceremony, which begins this first full-length collection by Zaina Alsous, mirrors the layering of insights that marks the

Thirteen Departures from the Moon Cover Image
ISBN: 9781935708230
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Press 53 - February 19th, 2011

"Sometimes a new poet appears who has a generous field of vision, a craft at once well-honed and extravagant, and a unique point of view, with narratives that could belong to no one else-a poet who, by being of her specific time and place, writes for the widest world.

Water & Salt Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597090292
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Red Hen Press - April 27th, 2017

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha's debut, Water & Salt, sings in the voices of people ravaged by cycles of war and news coverage. These poems alternately rage, laugh, celebrate and grieve, singing in the voices of people ravaged by cycles of war and news coverage and inviting the reader to see the human lives lived beyond the headlines.

Arab In Newsland Cover Image
ISBN: 9780998631493
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Two Sylvias Press - February 13th, 2017

Arab In Newsland by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha is the winner of the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize and was chosen by contest judge, January Gill O'Neil.

Praise for Arab In Newsland

Event Summary: 
Charis presents my sky is on my shoulders, a gathering of four Palestinian poets, to recite their poems and discuss all between earth and sky.