- Series: Arab American Writing
- Paperback: 136 pages
- Publisher: Syracuse University Press; 1 edition (May 22, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0815632940
- ISBN-13: 978-0815632948
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,682,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My Name on His Tongue: Poetry (Arab American Writing) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Laila Halaby is the author of two novels, West of the Jordan (winner of the PEN Beyond Margins Award) and Once in a Promised Land. She lives with her family in Tucson, Arizona.
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In this, her first collection of poetry, she uses a narrative style to explore what it means to be an outsider within your own culture, of trying to navigate between the two identities of Arab and American, and how this reflects on her as as women and as a writer. The poems in this collection span about twenty years, giving it almost the appearance of a memoir, detailing the heartaches and struggles, the dilemmas that have confronted & puzzled her, the experiences that she faced as an individual viewed as "Arab" in a post 9/11 world with all the grief and anger, all the hope that things could be better / different that went with living through such times. "My name on his tongue", is about identity; found or lost, is about relationships; those that made it and those that fell by the wayside, it's about war & peace and the murky wasteland that divides the two. "My name on his tongue" is a beautiful lyrical reflection, that is both personal and political as are all stories that highlight an individual's identity and how it relates to a geographical line on a map.
After a reading by Khaled Mattawa (a Libyan poet living in the US).
Your place in the world is solid
my place in the world moves without a
is based on mishaps
my place drifts
between Here and There West and East
sometimes gets lodged In-Between
my place is a Somewhere that cannot be found
on any map
as I was Born
in a place that belonged to neither of my parents
can't be an immigrant
if you haven't left somewhere can't be a native
if you're from somewhere else which is why I'm
fluent in the language of exiled souls
(Excerpt from: After a reading by Khaled Mattawa)
I hate to admit this, because I myself am a poet, but I don't read a lot of poetry. I could go into a long explanation of why or why not, but I guess it comes down to one thing: poetry out of context doesn't translate very well. I don't love poetry for its own sake. I like to know the why behind it. I like to know a little bit about the poet, why they wrote something, what they're trying to say, what their life is like. I go to a lot of poetry performances and I find that helps because you can see and hear the person right in front of you and (hopefully) understand them a little better than if you just read their words cold. None of this applies to Laila Halaby, however. Her poems are as accessible as if she were sitting beside you, telling you her life in beautiful, often sad, anecdotes.
For more reviews, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal.
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher for free using NetGalley. I was not obliged to write a positive review (or any review at all) in exchange for the copy. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.