the magic my body becomes: Poems by

University of Arkansas Press
1
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Winner, 2017 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize

In the magic my body becomes, Jess Rizkallah seeks a vernacular for the inescapable middle ground of being Arab American—a space that she finds, at times, to be too Arab for America and too American for her Lebanese elders.

The voice here freely asserts gender, sexuality, and religious beliefs, while at the same time it respects a generational divide: the younger’s privilege gained by the sacrifice of the older, the impossibility of separating what is wholly hers from what is hers second-hand.

In exploring family history, civil war, trauma, and Lebanon itself, Rizkallah draws from the spirits of canonical Arab and Middle Eastern poets, and the reader feels these spirits exorcising the grief of those who are still alive. Throughout, there is the body, a reclamation and pushback against cultures that simultaneously sexualize and shame women. And there is a softness as inherent as rage, a resisting of stereotypes that too often speak louder than the complexities of a colonized, yet resilient, cultural identity.

Rizkallah’s the magic my body becomes is an exciting new book from an exciting young poet, a love letter to a people as well as a fist in the air. It is the first book in the Etel Adnan Poetry Series, publishing first or second books of poetry in English by writers of Arab heritage.
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About the author

Jess Rizkallah is a Lebanese American who splits her time between Boston and New York. She is an MFA candidate at New York University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Arkansas Press
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Published on
Oct 1, 2017
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Pages
60
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ISBN
9781610756198
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / American / General
Poetry / General
Poetry / Middle Eastern
Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Family
Poetry / Women Authors
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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She Too: Four Voices in (Almost) Harmony is an anthology that captures a variety of life experiences created to celebrate National Poetry Month, April, 2014.

 

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