It’s still April. Good gracious, does this month seem long to anyone else? But on the positive side, that means we are still celebrating National Poetry Month for one more week! I’ve been finding it deeply satisfying to read poetry this month and am going to work on incorporating more poetry into my reading this year.
Since it’s also the month of Ramadan, I thought it would be nice to highlight poetry collections by Muslim writers. I started my research on the National Poetry Foundation where I found some truly gorgeous poems. Then, I researched the writers of my favorite poems and grabbed their collections from the library. These collections are thought-provoking, emotional, and experimental in form and expression. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
Halal If You Hear Me: This anthology of writings by Muslims who are women, queer, genderqueer, nonbinary, or trans is a celebration of intersectional identity and a bold statement that there is not one correct way to be a Muslim.
Invasive Species by Marwa Helal: A collection of searing, politically charged poems that take place in the spaces between. Helal experiments in form and shows a biting sense of humor while tackling themes of immigration, collective humanity, and displacement.
Look by Solmaz Sharif: The tragic costs of war are at the center of this fascinating, emotional collection of poems that weave in language from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Sharif shows how these terms sterilize language and sway our resolve, and refuses to accept that language.
A Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib: An amusing, reflective collection of poems about how to rebuild after a heartbreak. Woven within these poems are lyrical meditations on racial tensions that add a timeliness and gripping emotional urgency to the collection. I particularly loved the recurring poems titled “How Can Black People Write About Flowers at a Time Like This,” each different but deeply resonant.
Atrium by Hala Alyan: Poems both sumptuous and sparse populate this moving collection tackling themes of gender roles and identity. These poems are razor sharp and written with such animation that you can almost hear Alyan reciting them.
If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar: A gorgeous, inventive, and gripping collection of poems exploring Asghar’s often painful journey of establishing her identity as a queer Muslim woman in America.
Do you have a favorite Muslim writer? What should I add to my TBR?