Details

ISBN-10: 0872868605
ISBN-13: 9780872868601
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/26/2022
Dimensions: 6.90" L, 5.00" W, 0.50" H

Published by City Lights

Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza

Paperback

Price: $15.95 $11.17

Overview

“Written from his native Gaza, Abu Toha’s accomplished debut contrasts scenes of political violence with natural beauty”–The New York Times

In this poetry debut Mosab Abu Toha writes about his life under siege in Gaza, first as a child, and then as a young father. A survivor of four brutal military attacks, he bears witness to a grinding cycle of destruction and assault, and yet, his poetry is inspired by a profound humanity.

These poems emerge directly from the experience of growing up and living in constant lockdown, and often under direct attack. Like Gaza itself, they are filled with rubble and the ever-present menace of surveillance drones policing a people unwelcome in their own land, and they are also suffused with the smell of tea, roses in bloom, and the view of the sea at sunset. Children are born, families continue traditions, students attend university, and libraries rise from the ruins as Palestinians go on about their lives, creating beauty and finding new ways to survive.

Praise for Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear:

“Mosab Abu Toha is an astonishingly gifted young poet from Gaza, almost a seer with his eloquent lyrical vernacular … His poems break my heart and awaken it, at the same time. I feel I have been waiting for his work all my life.”–Naomi Shihab Nye

Accompanied by an in-depth interview (conducted by Ammiel Alcalay) in which Abu Toha discusses life in Gaza, his family origins, and how he came to poetry.

“Though forged in the bleak landscape of Gaza, he conjures a radiance that echoes Milosz and Kabir. These poems are like flowers that grow out of bomb craters and Mosab Abu Toha is an astonishing talent to celebrate.”–Mary Karr

“Mosab Abu Toha’s Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear arrives with such refreshing clarity and voice amidst a sea of immobilizing self-consciousness. It is no great feat to say a complicated thing in a complicated way, but here is a poet who says it plain: ‘In Gaza, some of us cannot completely die.’ Later, ‘This is how we survived.’ It’s remarkable. This is poetry of the highest order.”–Kaveh Akbar

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Reviews

Praise for Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear and Mosab Abu Toha:

"Written from his native Gaza, Abu Toha's accomplished debut contrasts scenes of political violence with natural beauty: In one poem, a 'nightingale departs the wet earth' two stanzas before the 'sound of a drone / intrudes.'"–The New York Times

"There is a duality to the poems, a contrast of beauty and violence. Images of dust, concrete, and gunfire tell a story of growing up under siege. These same elements will stay with the reader for days. The book is very visual both in language and in photographs that make the lines hit even harder. Some of the forms and line breaks feel loose, but they are made with passion and striking details."–Booklist

"The sensational young Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha deftly harnesses the raw power of words and imagery to expose the cruel and often absurd realities of sustaining life in a city under siege. Abu Toha, who reflects on his family's prolonged statelessness, is a literary warrior for whom crafting poetry is an act of resistance against the occupying power. ... His debut poetry collection offers emotionally frank vignettes as well as an extended interview conducted by Ammiel Alcalay. The poetry cracks open a window to the stark realities of life for Gaza's struggling residents, with Abu Toha serving as a gentle yet insistent messenger who whispers: 'Look, see our wounds, they are real.'"–Shelf Awareness, starred review

"With this breakthrough debut collection, Mosab Abu Toha joins an extraordinary group of poets, intellectuals, and writers who have given voice to the resilience of the Palestinian people and their continued fight for justice while facing violent and inhuman conditions under Israel's continued military occupation ... Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear resists erasure and forgetting to imagine a future for Palestine: it is the 'rose ... among the ruins of the house, ' an image of survival that beckons the eternal return of beauty and justice."–Banipal Magazine

"The proximity of death is palpable in Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha's devastating debut collection ... But even in the face of interminable violence, there's an ironic distancing at work ... An 'interlude' includes a series of photographs and accompanying captions. One depicts a schoolyard filled with children, and below it the words 'Mid-Term Test' are followed by a question: 'When a drone follows you on your way to school, what is it doing[?]' A range of possible answers are offered in multiple-choice format, including: 'It's counting your steps to make sure you're getting your daily exercise.' Such subdued humor filters through many of the poems in this collection, and the book closes on a hopeful note."–Diego Baez, Harriet Books, Poetry Foundation

"Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear is an account of what is lost in war, and what is preserved, both tangible and intangible. Abu Toha writes of his life under attack and threat of attack in Gaza, chronicling both the devastation of being hunted in your own homeland and the small pockets of grace found amongst the ruins. It is these scraps of a different, possible life that become the inheritance of those from whom all else has been taken. ... a startling collection rising up from the ruins of human hatred, reaching for the sun through drifting smoke."–David Nilsen, On the Seawall

"This may be one of the finest poetry books of this year. ... It is a complex book about a complex world, born from a contentious war that has lasted three generations, told by a youthful voice that has known nothing but. ... It is a book rife with death yet painted in every corner with an almost unbearable amount of life."–New York Journal of Books

"Mosab Abu Toha is an astonishingly gifted young poet from Gaza, almost a seer with his eloquent lyrical vernacular, his visions of life, continuity, time, possibility, and beauty. His poems break my heart and awaken it, at the same time. I feel I have been waiting for his work all my life."–Naomi Shihab Nye, author of The Tiny Journalist

"Mosab Abu Toha's elegant and unforgettable poetry calls me to celebrate the struggle to survive. Though forged in the bleak landscape of Gaza, he conjures a radiance that echoes Milosz and Kabir. These poems are like flowers that grow out of bomb craters and Mosab Abu Toha is an astonishing talent to celebrate."–Mary Karr, author of Tropic of Squalor

"Mosab Abu Toha's Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear arrives with such refreshing clarity and voice amidst a sea of immobilizing self-consciousness. It is no great feat to say a complicated thing in a complicated way, but here is a poet who says it plain: 'In Gaza, some of us cannot completely die.' Later, 'This is how we survived.' It's remarkable. This is poetry of the highest order."–Kaveh Akbar, author of Pilgrim Bell

"It has been amazing, and inspiring, to see how people surviving in the Gaza prison, subject to constant and vicious attack and living under conditions of brutal deprivation, continue to maintain their dignity and commitment to a better life. Mosab Abu Toha's initiative to create a library and cultural center in Gaza is an outstanding example of these remarkable efforts. What he is seeking to achieve would make a very significant contribution to enriching the lives of Gazans and providing them with opportunities for a much better future. It merits strong support from everyone concerned with justice and basic human rights."–Noam Chomsky on the Edward Said Public Library founded by Mosab Abu Toha

"This is a debut collection by Mosab Abu Toha and it's magnificent. The last book I read before reading this collection was Bittersweet by Susan Cain–a book about how not only is hardship inevitable, it often leads to amazing creative offerings. This couldn't have been a better prelude to reading Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear. I'd be hard-pressed to tell you if the most common word in the collection is bomb or shrapnel or F-16s. The author has drawn on his childhood in Gaza for the material of this collection. With that heartbreaking material, an incredible and beautiful creative offering has risen from its ashes."–Jennifer Willis Geraedts, Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery, Park Rapids, MN

"In his searing and unflinching debut, Mosab Abu Toha writes of his beloved Gaza and the torments it continues to endure. These poems speak with palpable urgency. Nevertheless underneath the terror, there's a lingering sense of optimism and survival: 'Through it all, the strawberries have never stopped growing.'"–James Fraser, Grolier Poetry Book Shop, Cambridge, MA

"In a world that is being destroyed by forces that seem too big to fight, Mosab Abu Toha's poems show us the disappearing beauty of his homeland and the human cost of our apathy and passivity in the wake of our government's violence. May these delicate and powerful poems stir your heart and drive you to action."–Mandy Medley, Pilsen Community Books, Chicago, IL

"'We deserve a better death, ' begins one of Mosab Abu Toha's poems halfway through his remarkable collection, one that both honors the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died since the 1940s, strangers in their own homeland; and celebrates the ways in which Palestinians today affirm their pasts, their presents, and their futures in the face of daily terror. The movement across the poems, fluid and urgent, brings a spectrum of Palestinian experiences and voices to life, filtered through Toha's incandescent voice. 'Why is it when I dream of Palestine, / that I see it in black and white?' he asks in 'Notebooks, ' but for the reader, Palestine, in all its brutal occupation and its determination to survive, shines in awesome color."–Anna Claire Weber, White Whale Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA

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Details

ISBN-10: 0872868605
ISBN-13: 9780872868601
Publisher: City Lights Books
Publish Date: 04/26/2022
Dimensions: 6.90" L, 5.00" W, 0.50" H
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