The War Works Hard
  • The War Works Hard
  • The War Works Hard

The War Works Hard

by Dunya Mikhail, Elizabeth Winslow
     
 

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Mikhail’s poetic vision transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries with liberating compassion.Revolutionary poetry by an exiled Iraqi woman. Winner of a 2004 PEN Translation Fund Award. "Yesterday I lost a country," Dunya Mikhail writes in The War Works Hard, a revolutionary work by an exiled Iraqi poether first to appear in English. Amidst the ongoing

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Overview

Mikhail’s poetic vision transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries with liberating compassion.Revolutionary poetry by an exiled Iraqi woman. Winner of a 2004 PEN Translation Fund Award. "Yesterday I lost a country," Dunya Mikhail writes in The War Works Hard, a revolutionary work by an exiled Iraqi poether first to appear in English. Amidst the ongoing atrocities in Iraq, here is an important new voice that rescues the human spirit from the ruins, unmasking the official glorification of war with telegraphic lexical austerity. Embracing literary traditions from ancient Mesopotamian mythology to Biblical and Qur'anic parables to Western modernism, Mikhail's poetic vision transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries with liberating compassion.

Editorial Reviews

Pierre Joris
“Here, the fierceness of the public life meshes with the hard-won tenderness of the private, in a passionate dialectic that makes her voice the inescapable voice of Arab poetry today.”
Etel Adnan
“Dunya Mikhail is a woman who speaks like the disillusioned goddesses of Babylon. Blunt as well as subtle, she makes of war a distinct entity, thus turning it into a myth. To her own question, 'What does it mean to die all this death?,' her poems answer that it means to reveal the only redeeming power that we have: the existence of love.”
Library Journal
This is the fourth book of poetry-the first translated into English-from Iraqi poet Mikhail, who fled to the United States in the mid-1990s after being harassed by the authorities. Here, she captures the essence of the cruel and inhumane in life. She writes of the destructiveness caused by a tyrannical regime and two prolonged wars that crippled her country and deepened the sense of loss among its people: "Yesterday I lost a country/ I was in a hurry/ and didn't notice when it fell from me/ like a broken branch from a forgetful tree." In voicing her pain, concerns, and hopes, she employs a direct language devoid of complicated imagery. Mikhail ponders the question of whether the poetic text is parallel to and richer than life or an extension and representation of it but seems to lean toward the latter. Not without a sense of irony and sarcasm, she also incorporates cinematic techniques to depict a strong yearning for life, which is nevertheless infiltrated by horror. Translator Winslow won a 2004 PEN American award to bring this into English; highly recommended.-Sadiq Alkoriji, Tomball Coll. & Community Lib., Harris Cty., TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811216210
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
04/01/2005
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
1,003,746
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

Meet the Author

Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq in 1965. While working as a journalist for the Baghdad Observer, she faced increasing threats from the authorities and fled to the United States in the late 1990s. In 2001, she was awarded the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. Her first poetry book in English, The War Works Hard, was named one of 2005’ twenty-five Books toRemember by the New York Public Library and Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea won the 2010 Arab American Book Award for poetry. Mikhail teaches atOakland University, Michigan.

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