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ZaatarDiva Paperback – October 15, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Brooklynite Hammad may be the first Palestinian-American to make it big in the spoken-word, or performance poetry, scene: she took part in Russell Simmons's Tony Award–winning Def Poetry Jam and has read on (among other venues) National Public Radio. Her first collection is also the first book from the Cypher imprint, edited by spoken-word elder statesman Willie Perdomo. Inspired both by her links to the Arab world and by the styles and stances of such earlier poet-performers as Nikki Giovanni, Hammad celebrates and defends her heritage ("i want to be open and hide/ the children of Palestine within me") and can be equally passionate about daily life in her home borough: "if you can make it here/ you got nothing to fear," the poem called "brooklyn" says. With the book comes a CD of Hammad in energetic performance, including a brief interview with the poet's father (subject of her poem "daddy's song") and, apparently, a bag of the Mideastern spice zataar. Leading off the CD is one of Hammad's best poems, the ironic "mic check," whose title refers to sound equipment and to an airport search performed by a hapless guy named Mike. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
For the elegantly beautiful Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian from Brooklyn with formidable lyrical gifts and a distaste for always being seen as the exotic, lovemaking is continually disrupted by flashing thoughts of the traumatic events and brutality unfolding around the globe. --Chicago Sun Times
Suheir Hammad knows the sight and smell of war first hand as she recites "Daddy's Song." Her physical beauty and gracefulness pulls you into her quiet storm as it rips your mind open to the stew she's brewing. Her thoughts are poetic, but her message is beyond real. --San Francisco Bay View
ZaatarDiva summons through moments of lyrical insight and urbane wit, again and again, and before we know what has happened, we are hooked. Here's a poetry that urges a wholeness - a crossing of borders - as the personal is woven into the public, whereby a 'prodigal daughter' possesses her own knowing voice. Each poem in ZaatarDiva is heart-driven by the urgent, raw orality of need. And, there is a glistening barb in each turn of phrase - a lure of quicksilver accuracy. --Yusef Komunyakaa
Top customer reviews
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This is just what I found from looking up one word,chiffon. As I looked up other words, I got it. The word "mama sweet baklava" is beautiful in itself and takes on deep meaning. I love this book, and it is a keeper, one that I will read again and again from time to time. I look forward to hear more from and about this author.
--From the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2006 Issue.
I know Suheir's voice. It commands me to listen. Never mind owning the stage, she owns the whole damn building. Powerful, beautiful, emotional and moving are words that, to me, describe both Ms. Hammad AND her poetry. She's so talented she makes me want to not only write more, but write better.
This book cannot get here soon enough.