arab american book award winner
It is unusual that the deeply private in American poetry connects to the immensely public at the world stage. It is even a rarer event when this is accomplished with such clarity and disarming language. American poetry needs to pay attention to this book and celebrate the expansive tender vision of Hayan Charara. His poems feed us what we want, and what we think we want, because the poems have made a pact with us: that they will also offer us what we fear. And we accept it all because ultimately this is a book of fearless love. I cannot stop rereading these poems, every one of them so heartbreaking and illuminating, especially “Usage,” a work of such brilliance it will be read for decades to come.
— Fady Joudah
Each time I read Hayan Charara’s insightful, tragic, loving book, and am witness myself to his acts of witness, the chill of poetry runs down my spine and up into my scalp. This necessary work is not like any other, from the short surreal poems that come unflinchingly back to specific human truth to the long “Usage” and its Whitmanian catalogue of what is done to us with daily language.