A brilliant poetic exploration of language and gender, place, and time, seen through the mirror of exile
“I don’t want to be the princess. / I only want to be her sleep / for 100 years”Dunya Mikhail
At the heart of In Her Feminine Sign, Dunya Mikhail’s luminous new collection of poems, is the Arabic suffix ta-marbuta, “the tied circle,” a circle with two dots above it that indicates a feminine word, or sign. This tied circle transforms into the moon, a stone that binds friendship, birdsong over ruins, and a hymn to Nisaba, the goddess of writing. Her “Iraqi haiku” in one section unfold like Sumerian symbols carved onto clay tablets, transmuted into the stuff of our ordinary, daily life and into the digital tablets we carry to Mars. In another poem, Mikhail ponders the Sumerian word for “freedom,” Ama-ar-gi: “what seeps out/ from the dead into our dreams.”
With a deceptive simplicity and disquieting humor reminiscent of Wislawa Szymborska, and a lyricism wholly her own, Mikhail slips between her child-hood in Baghdad and her present life in Detroit, between Ground Zero and amass grave, tracing new circles of light.
|Publisher:||New Directions Publishing Corporation|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Dunya Mikhail was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to the United States thirty years later in 1995. After graduating from the University of Baghdad, she worked as a journalist and translator for the Baghdad Observer. Facing censorship and interrogation, she left Iraq, first to Jordan and then to America, settling in Detroit. New Directions published her books The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq, The Iraqi Nights, Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea, and The War Works Hardchosen as one the New York Public Library’s Books to Remember in 2005as well as her edited volume, 15 Iraqi Poets. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Knights Foundation grant, a Kresge Fellowship, and the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing, and works as a special lecturer of Arabic at Oakland University in Michigan.