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Breaking Poems Paperback – December 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Breaking Poems takes on the geographic lines that have bound women for ages and marked their bodies, their selves with the lines of unjust notions of property and exploitation. These are poems that inform the dreams of a world that honors woman and honors woman speaking her own voice, breaking the bonds of old worlds with bright moments, bright moments, bright moments. --Afaa Michael Weaver<br /><br />Incantatory and powerful, Suheir Hammad's voice compels you in these new poems to enact a beautiful revolution, a retrieval from the very heart of loss. Everything falls on the off beat, wa love, wa body, wa life, wa freedom. --Chris Abani<br /><br />Suheir Hammad's break introduces English to an Arabic vernacular that startles into being an altogether new language, bridging the archipelago of a Palestine under siege to the diaspora and beyond, breaking through convention, breaking open locks on mind and heart, breaking into a music inspired by the Coltranes, Sun Ra and free jazz, Lee Scratch Perry and Ravi Shankar, a music that is at once a joyous celebration of survival and a poignant cri de Coeur that cannot be ignored and that Mahmoud Darwish should have lived to see. This is a poetry written for people who have endured the winds of hurricanes and invasions. What wisdom, energy, joy and poignancy Hammad brings to the page-for all of this, and for teaching me a new speaking, I give her my thanks. --Carolyn Forché

Suheir Hammad's break introduces English to an Arabic vernacular that startles into being an altogether new language, bridging the archipelago of a Palestine under siege to the diaspora and beyond, breaking through convention, breaking open locks on mind and heart, breaking into a music inspired by the Coltranes, Sun Ra and free jazz, Lee Scratch Perry and Ravi Shankar, a music that is at once a joyous celebration of survival and a poignant cri de Coeur that cannot be ignored and that Mahmoud Darwish should have lived to see. This is a poetry written for people who have endured the winds of hurricanes and invasions. What wisdom, energy, joy and poignancy Hammad brings to the page-for all of this, and for teaching me a new speaking, I give her my thanks. --Carolyn Forché

Breaking Poems takes on the geographic lines that have bound women for ages and marked their bodies, their selves with the lines of unjust notions of property and exploitation. These are poems that inform the dreams of a world that honors woman and honors woman speaking her own voice, breaking the bonds of old worlds with bright moments, bright moments, bright moments. --Afaa Michael Weaver

About the Author

Poet Suheir Hammad was born in Amman, Jordan, to refugee Palestinian parents. She immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, New York, when she was just five years old. Inspired by poet-performers such as Nikki Giovanni, Hammad has traveled the world reciting her poetry in various venues and universities. Her writings have appeared in over a dozen anthologies. Her books include BREAKING POEMS, ZAATARDIVA, and BORN PALESTINIAN, BORN BLACK. She has written for and performed in the Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway and appears in the Cannes Film Festival Official Selection Salt of This Sea.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 62 pages
  • Publisher: Cypher Books (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981913121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981913124
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #821,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Palestinian-American poet Suheir Hammad is in a class of her own. The first Palestinian on Broadway, she received a Tony Award for her performance in "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam," and won a Peabody Award for the HBO series of the same name. She stars as Soraya in Annemarie Jacir's film "Salt of This Sea," Palestine's entry in this year's Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category. Hammad is also an accomplished playwright, as evidenced by "Blood Trinity" (2002) and "ReOrientalism" (2003). Used copies of her debut collection of poems, Born Palestinian, Born Black, when available, sell for hundreds of dollars. breaking poems, her fourth collection, demonstrates Hammad's maturation as a poet and captures the Zeitgeist of this moment in the Palestinians' 60-plus-year Nakba at the hands of Zionism--a relentless attempt to eradicate an entire people which continues to this day.

On a technical level, breaking poems represents new heights in Hammad's sparse style. As the title suggests, the poems in this collection read like messages from the front lines--heavy, measured, parsed, rationed--boiled down to essential information and elemental emotion forged by the raging fury of a battle for survival. The style suits Hammad because it accomplishes what many spoken-word poets fail to achieve: a seamless transition from the energy and cadence of live performance to the printed page. Her words, carefully considered and organized, transcend two-dimensional black and white print to encompass voice, beat, image and visceral emotion.

While her previous collections read like galleries of poetic masterpieces, breaking poems is perhaps Hammad's first conceptualized poetic narrative. Her character in this novella is a witness to unfolding physical and psychological terror.
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Format: Paperback
The poetry of Suheir Hammad is both classical and new. Brilliant and passionate. Immediate and timeless. She is among the greatest living poets. This book is a departure for her, the work is more formal, but it stands as one of her best. I recommend it highly, for anyone that loves poetry, for anyone who thinks, for anyone who feels.
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By Azucena on January 19, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautiful, touching; each poem a story.
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