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Something Sinister
Hayan Charara

Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary Series: Poetry

Carnegie Mellon
2016 • 72 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-605-0

“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... [continued in Reviews below]”—Marilyn Hacker,

New Poetry

These poems grapple with conflicts arising from a world in which the personal, political, cultural, and aesthetic are deeply entangled and often troubling. Charara does not shy away from the tensions, unease, doubts, regrets, or bafflement of this world; and his wide-ranging focus brings together people from all walks of life—a father obsessed with the boxer Muhammad Ali; a girl missing since the 1970s; a mother and daughter trapped in a submerged vehicle; and a suicide bomber, his witnesses, and victims. This collection shows us the mind of an inventive poet undertaking his work with careful consideration, authority, and heart.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“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 catalog of what is done to us with daily language. ”—Marilyn Hacker

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.”—Fady Joudah

From the Book:

In ancient times a plague of locusts showed up to ruin the crops
and this became holy.

A sea surge not long ago made the trees bow down
and people were reminded of their shame.

HAYAN CHARARA was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Arab immigrants. He has two previous poetry collections, The Alchemist’s Diary and The Sadness of Others. He edited Inclined to Speak, an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry, and his children’s book, The Three Lucys, won the New Voices Award Honor. He lives in Texas.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:24:30 -0500