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Border Lines: Poems of Migration

Border Lines: Poems of Migration

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Overview

In this remarkable collection—the first of its kind—poets from around the world give eloquent voice to the trials, hopes, rewards, and losses of the experience of migration.

Each year, millions join the ranks of intrepid migrants who have reshaped societies throughout history. The movement of peoples across borders—whether forcible, as with the Middle Passage and the Trail of Tears, or voluntary, as with the great migrations from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America to the United States and Western Europe—brings with it emotional and psychological dislocations. More recently, African and Middle Eastern peoples have risked their lives to reach safety in Europe, while Central Americans have fled north. Whatever their circumstances, these travelers share the challenge of adapting to being strangers in a strange land.

Border Lines brings together more than a hundred poets representing more than sixty nationalities, including Mahmoud Darwish, Czeslaw Milosz, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Ruth Padel, Warsan Shire, Derek Walcott, and Ocean Vuong. Their poems offer moving stories of displacement and new beginnings in such places as France, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A monument to courage and resilience, Border Lines offers an intimate and uniquely global view of the experience of immigrants in our rapidly changing world.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101908242
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/08/2020
Series: Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,097,363
Product dimensions: 4.45(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL WATERS is the author of numerous poetry collections, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist Darling Vulgarity and Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems. His honors include fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and five Pushcart Prizes. Waters teaches at Monmouth University and Drew University.

MIHAELA MOSCALIUC is the author of the poetry collections Immigrant Model and Father Dirt. An associate professor at Monmouth University, she has published scholarship in the field of Romani (Gypsy) studies and is the recipient of two Glenna Luschei Awards from Prairie Schooner, residency fellowships from The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Le Chateau de Lavigny, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Fulbright fellowship to Romania.

Read an Excerpt

FOREWORD

The movement of peoples from one space to another, sometimes forcibly, as with the Middle Passage and the Trail of Tears, or courageously and voluntarily, as with the great migrations from Eastern Europe, Asia, and, more recently, Africa and Latin America to the United States and Western Europe, has been accompanied by immeasurable emotional and psychological displacements. Where is home? Is it the motherland, the left-behind world of birthplace and ancestry, or is it the strange but fresh landscape of possibility and promise? Which language articulates the private self, which the public? More recently, driven by war, poverty, and multiple forms of oppression, contexts shaped significantly by First World politics and interests, African and Middle Eastern peoples have risked their lives to touch the European continent, while Central Americans have journeyed north, all intent on crossing borders – pocked and cratered terrains, guarded rivers, dangerous and indifferent seas and oceans – toward more secure lives for themselves and their children. What is the cost of such unwilling or hopeful migration? “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion,” writes the anonymous poet of Psalm 137.

Throughout the long history of these arduous journeys, poets have given voice to those who experience shifts of language and consciousness, spiritual deprivation and renewal, familial separation and reunion,and adaptation to being strangers in a strange land. André Aciman states, “Each one of us is a dislodged citizen of a country that was never really his, but that he has learned to long for and cannot forget. The fault lines of exile and diaspora always run deep, and we are always from elsewhere, and from elsewhere before that.”

It’s those aspects of elsewhere, physical and imagined, as well as the more concrete (literally andfiguratively) aspects of the here and now, that the poets in this anthology explore and engage. More than one hundred poets from a wide range of cultural backgrounds deepen into personal stories of displacement, of migration and exile, and of past language and tradition set against the dissonances and unrecognizable rituals of cultures sometimes welcoming, often fearful or antagonistic. The process of (at times reluctant) assimilation is recorded in these poems through the smallest details, through the ordinary progressions of a life – its loves and labors – which take on significance as meanings of identity, of national and global citizenship, reconstruct themselves.

“How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” asks the anonymous poet. The poets in this anthology attempt such songs, not only of the Lord in various guises, but also of themselves and their families, their loved ones past and present, their languages and lives, all toward defining, in more encompassing terms, migration as disruptive, wondrous, challenging, desperate, ecstatic, and – not least of all – reinventive.

—Mihaela Moscaliuc and Michael Waters

Table of Contents

Foreword
 
CROSSINGS
NEIL AITKEN Outside Plato’s Republic, The Last Poets Wait for Departure
INDRAN AMIRTHANAYAGAM The Migrant’s Reply
MICHAEL BROEK From The Golden Venture
MARCELO HERNANDEZ CASTILLO Immigration Interview with Don Francisco
EDUARDO C. CORRAL Immigration and Naturalization Service Report #46
MAHMOUD DARWISH The Passport
ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO Wave
LORNA GOODISON Making Life
ANNIE KIM Map of Korea, 1950
NICK MAKOHA Stone
DUNYA MIKHAIL From The Iraqi Nights
D. NURKSE In the Hold
BAO PHI Adrift
DON SCHOFIELD Migrant Stories
SANDY SOLOMON Political Refugee, One Month On
CATHY SONG Picture Bride
JULES SUPERVIELLE Departure
MAI DER VANG Transmigration
ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI Refugees
 
PROMISED LAND
JOHN AGARD The Embodiment
AGHA SHAHID ALI Of It All
DREADLOCK ALIEN Fires burn in Bradford, Rockstone fling innah Oldham
MONIZA ALVI Rural Scene
MONA ARSHI The Daughters
RUTH AWAD Town Gossip
JAMES BERRY Roomseeker in London
ANDREE CHEDID My Rediscovered Land
FRED D’AGUIAR Home
GREGORY DJANIKIAN When I First Saw Snow
BERNADINE EVARISTO From Lara
MARISA FRASCA Anise Seed
RAY GONZALEZ Was Federico Garcia Lorca Lonely in New York?
MAGGIE HARRIS Llamas, Cwmpengraig
WILLIAM HEYEN A Snapshot of My Father, 1928
ROLANDO KATTAN The Pineapple Tree
CHRISTINE KITANO For the Korean Grandmother on Sunset Boulevard
TATO LAVIERA AmeRican
JACK MAPANJE After Celebrating Our Asylum Stories at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
KEI MILLER The only thing far away
AIMEE NEZHUKUMATATHIL Fishbone
RUTH PADEL The Prayer Labyrinth
SHAMPA RAY My India
WARSAN SHIRE Midnight in the Foreign Food Aisle
CHARLES SIMIC Explorers
CARMEN GIMENEZ SMITH Southern Cone
R.A. VILLANUEVA In Memory of Xiong Huang
JUDITH VOLLMER Mała Babka Pays an Evening Visit, Rolls Down Her Stockings and Looks Around
PATRICIA JABBEH WESLEY Poem Written from a Single Snapshot
JENNY XIE Naturalization
 
MOTHERLAND
DILRUBA AHMED Dear Masoom
KAZIM ALI Ursa Major
HADARA BARNADAV Chest
KAMAU BRATHWAITE From Guanahani
RAFAEL CAMPO My Voice
IMTIAZ DHARKER How to cut a pomegranate
ARACELIS GIRMAY The Fig Eaters, Fifth Estrangement
LORRAINE HEALY The country I flee from daily
ALLISON JOSEPH Immigrants  
JACKIE KAY In my country
SHARA MCCALLUM Psalm for Kingston
RO MEHROOZ Broken Mirror
VALZHYNA MORT Belarusian I
WIDAD NABI The Place Is Lit with Memory
PETER ORESICK Ruthenia
ALICIA SUSKIN OSTRIKER Guyana: So Nice
ROGER SEDARAT Dear Regime,
JACOB SHORESARGUELLO Workshop
MARIANA SIERRA Mangoes at Kroger
GERALD STERN The Dancing
FADWA SULEIMAN Laurel
DEREK WALCOTT Sea Grapes
SHOLEH WOLPE 4th Movement
 
LABOR
LORY BEDIKIAN The Mechanic
KATHY ENGEL What could the title possibly be
TARFIA FAIZULLAH To the Bangladeshi Cab Driver in San Francisco
CARMEN FIRAN How I Am
KIMIKO HAHN A Flushing Villanelle
HA JIN Bargain
HEDI KADDOUR The Night Watchman
PHILIP LEVINE On the Birth of Good & Evil During the Long Winter of ’28
SHIRLEY GEOKLIN LIM Starlight Haven
ADA LIMON The Contract Says: We’d Like the Conversation to Be Bilingual
ADRIAN SANGEORZAN Underground Pearls
GARY SOTO Mexicans Begin Jogging
ADRIENNE SU Peaches
 
LANGUAGE
KAVEH AKBAR Do You Speak Persian?
SHAUNA BARBOSA Broke
LAUREANNE BOSSELAAR English Flavors
CHRISTIAN CAMPBELL Iguana
MARY JEAN CHAN Rules for a Chinese Child Buying Stationery in a London Bookshop
ANDREI CODRESCU ah, ach, vai bilingvism
INUA ELLAMS GuerillaGardenWritingPoem
RHINA P. ESPAILLAT Bilingual/Bilingue
JAWDAT FAKHREDDINE Land
ALBERT GOLDBARTH Shoyn Fergéssin: “I’ve Forgotten” in Yiddish
JANINE JOSEPH Assimilation
ILYA KAMINSKY Elegy for Joseph Brodsky
LI-YOUNG LEE Persimmons
ESTHER LIN Illegal Immigration
J. MICHAEL MARTINEZ Lord, Spanglish Me
CZESLAW MILOSZ My Faithful Mother Tongue
NAOMI SHIHAB NYE Arabic
OMAR SAKR Where I Am Not
OCEAN VUONG The Gift
ARNE WEINGART Born in Hungarian
 
COMMUNITY
JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA Green Chile
ROBERT BLY The Russian
KWAME DAWES A Way of Seeing
ROMESH GUNESEKERA Turning Point
ROBERT HEDIN The Old Scandinavians
JUAN FELIPE HERRERA Half-Mexican
ZAFFAR KUNIAL Us
KHALED MATTAWA In the Glorious Yemen Restaurant
CLAUDE MCKAY The Harlem Dancer
YESENIA MONTILLA Maps
DZVINIA ORLOWSKY When First Stars Appear
ALBERTO RIOS Border Lines
IRA SADOFF Nazis
CLAUDIA SEREA At Deb’s Party
RUTH KNAFO SETTON My Father Eats Figs
SUSAN TERRIS Great Grandfathers from Szumsk Offer Advice to My Children
REETIKA VAZIRANI Daughter-Mother-Maya-Seeta

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