A fascinating book of poetry that considers all aspects of life for a Muslim woman living in America. It looks at the hijab as a symbol of hate following 9/11, the role of women and girls in America and expectations in her heritage country of Yemen, the traditions and rituals of both countries including language.
The imagery is strong and visceral helped by the original and unusual format of the poems, each one different but visually poetic. The language is aggressive at times with the use of American phrases and Arabic ones that emphasise the differences and beauty between the cultures. There is conflict between values and how the world is seen, how the people view dogs, for example, food and how Almontaser tries to fit in with the ideas if femininity in America.
This is a powerful book, enlightening in expression with a vivid use of language and the symbolism of the fox - the predatory, cunning, scavenging, hunted, wild and yet urban, dog - is like Yemen, or the Yemeni woman herself: trying to find their place in the world. Inventive, creative, beautiful. Even if you don't usually like poetry this book is as vital as any novel.
Winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets
Winner of the 2021 Maya Angelou Book Award
Longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award for Poetry
Published by Picador on 8 July 2021.
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