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.
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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.
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
"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.
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 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