Read my name on his tongue: poems by Laila Halaby Online


Best-selling novelist and PEN Award winner Halaby presents readers with her first collection of poetry. Intensely personal and marked with a trenchant wit, these poems form a memoir following Halaby’s life as they explore the disorientation of exile, the challenge of navigating two cultures, and the struggle to shape her own creative identity. She shares the pain and confuBest-selling novelist and PEN Award winner Halaby presents readers with her first collection of poetry. Intensely personal and marked with a trenchant wit, these poems form a memoir following Halaby’s life as they explore the disorientation of exile, the challenge of navigating two cultures, and the struggle to shape her own creative identity. She shares the pain and confusion of growing up—the need for belonging and the solace of community—with tenderness and fearless candor. Rooted in her Middle Eastern heritage, these poems illuminate the Arab American experience over the last quarter century. Turning away from all that is esoteric and remote in American poetry today, Halaby’s lucid and forthright voice speaks to and for a large audience....

Title : my name on his tongue: poems
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780815632948
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 136 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

my name on his tongue: poems Reviews

  • Nafiza
    2019-02-28 03:42

    There are many things that make me cry. Cruelty to animals, elderly and children, Shah Rukh Khan (argh), war, good ice cream going to waste and others. Poetry, usually, is not one of them. While reading my name on his tongue, I was in parts awestruck, in parts jealous and in lots of parts weepy. Confession: I don't read a lot of poetry. Contemporary poetry even less The only reason I requested this title from Net Galley was simply because of the title. It intrigued me, piqued my curiousity and made me want to read the poem the verse was found in and I am so, so, so very glad that I took a chance with this. Halaby's poetry is so exquisitely beautiful that I fear I lack the words to do it justice. More than the words she chooses to express herself in, it is the feelings embroidered in the punctuation, in the pauses, in the slight (written) hitch in breath you get as you read her poetry that marks it as genius.Perhaps it is because I relate to the displacement that is one of the strongest themes in the book. Perhaps it is because I know what it feels like to be torn between two cultures, perhaps that's why I teared up and cried as I read her contradictory feelings of grief and anger as she poetically navigates the murky American waters after the 9/11 attacks. Her yearning for home, her anger at the people tearing apart the place she finds her roots in, her voice, her passion - these are all so strong in this slim collection of poetry that you will pause and linger over her verses, read them again, muse over them and keep on thinking about them as you go about doing the mundane things that compose your day. My favourite poem might be the first one but the one that made me cry was the last one. Do yourselves a favor, even if you do not read poetry usually, read this volume. It may change you in ways that you didn't think possible.

  • Lauren
    2019-02-22 23:02

    I spent some time reading and re-reading sections of Halaby's my name on his tongue. It's a stunning collection of poetry, some poems reminiscent in theme (not necessarily in style) to Citizen: An American Lyric, another poetry book I read (and was blown away by) earlier this year. Deeply personal, often political, and the intersection of the two - she explores the theme of culture and identity both in as an Arab-American, and as a woman. One particular poem "a moonlight visit" really stuck with me. Many of the poems are in first person, and one naturally wonders if they are autobiographical. A strong and thoughtful collection. Recommended for all poetry lovers. Bonus: beautiful cover art by Palestinian artist, Laila Shawa: "Zeinab Chasing the Devil".

  • Khara House
    2019-03-02 23:43

    my name on his tongue, Laila Halaby’s debut collection of lyrical and narrative poetry, is a stunning collection dealing with various struggles, both personal and political, all revolving around the central theme of identity. The poems in this collection engage a haunting tone of self-reflection and cultural engagement. Each of the poems in Hallaby's collection is rooted in the development and examination of identity.Halaby’s collection guides us through various scenes of identity formation, from being “a tourist at home” to discussions of the various roles and identities that at once define and defy us. From the very beginning of this collection, Halaby allows memory and identity to breathe into her poems—a tour guide’s words to her (“you have been gone / but you are still one of us / the branch stays close to its roots”) reflect both the connection and distance felt by Halaby in connection to the recurrent theme of dual identity. A sense of longing to be known, and yet feeling apart, presents itself throughout these poems. Identity is, in this collection, a series of “vomited labels” (“the journey”) that give the collection a tone of memoir and personal history. The poems of my name on his tongue, though at times hard to take in emotionally, are absolutely necessary, and reflect and reveal many of the unspoken conflicts and injustices inherent to any struggle with personal, national, cultural, or ethnic identity. When Halaby ends with the quote from Ghandi (“A confession of errors is like a brook which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer”) she leaves us with the sense that we all have work to do. (Read my full review at Our Lost Jungle)

  • Inoli
    2019-03-13 21:48

    Very emotional. Not an easy read. A lot of pain, frustration, a lot of anger. Very real and very true and a must read. Thank you Nafiza.When you read this, if you can, read West Of The Jordan as well, perhaps first.

  • Parrish Lantern
    2019-02-18 01:42

    Laila Halaby was born in Lebanon to a Jordanian father and American mother, she grew up mostly in Arizona. She is the author of two novels, West of Jordan (2003; winner of a Pen Beyond Margins Award) and Once in a Promised Land (2007). She holds an undergraduate degree in Italian and Arabic from Washington University (St Louis), she was also a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship for the study of Jordanian folklore, which resulted in a collection of Palestinian folktales for children. In addition, she also writes poetry which is highly personal, reflecting the disparity between the places and cultures she grew up within.In this, her first collection of poetry, she uses a narrative style to explore what it means to be an outsider within your own culture, of trying to navigate between the two identities of Arab and American, and how this reflects on her as as women and as a writer. The poems in this collection span about twenty years, giving it almost the appearance of a memoir, detailing the heartaches and struggles, the dilemmas that have confronted & puzzled her, the experiences that she faced as an individual viewed as “Arab” in a post 9/11 world with all the grief and anger, all the hope that things could be better / different that went with living through such times. “My name on his tongue”, is about identity; found or lost, is about relationships; those that made it and those that fell by the wayside, it’s about war & peace and the murky wasteland that divides the two. “My name on his tongue” is a beautiful lyrical reflection, that is both personal and political as are all stories that highlight an individual’s identity and how it relates to a geographical line on a map.After a reading by Khaled Mattawa (a Libyan poet living in the US).Your place in the world is solid my place in the world moves without ascheduleis based on mishapsunwanted affairspolitical discord my place driftsbetween Here and There West and Eastsometimes gets lodged In-Between my place is a Somewhere that cannot be foundon any mapwas detachedas I was Bornin a place that belonged to neither of my parents can’t be an immigrantif you haven’t left somewhere can’t be a nativeif you’re from somewhere else which is why I'mfluent in the language of exiled souls(Excerpt from: After a reading by Khaled Mattawa)

  • Rachael
    2019-02-23 23:50

    I enjoyed this poetry collection quite a bit. I was expecting more political pieces, which I don't usually seek out, but there were not as many as I anticipated, and the ones included were well written and not what I had expected.While I couldn't relate to every one of Halaby's poems, there were quite a few that I connected with. Even though I have never dealt with the same cross-culture & mixed-race issues that were addressed in several of the poems, I have dealt with similar emotions among my own peer groups. Classic high school drama, now that I can look back on it, but I recognized many of the same emotions I felt about that time in my life while reading these poems. My favorite poem in this collection is the second poem of "The Journey"; the following lines make me feel like Laila Halaby is writing what is in my head:"...demanded validation / as a woman / as an Arab / as a writer / and then / when no one wanted my stories / and no one cared where I was born / where my father was from / why I looked the way I did / ...I had become exactly who I always wanted to be: a normal person whose labels were irrelevant""Motherhood" is another favorite, and I found myself returning to the first poem of Halaby's reflection on Khaled Mattawa's reading numerous times as well.*received a digital copy free through netGalley

  • Sohaib
    2019-02-26 04:45

    Wonderful, witty at times, heady and controlled at other times, sarcastic too, informal diction, closer to the heart, filled with personal stories in a playful humorous tone … These are some offhand general impressions. Not to forget that most poems are in the stream of consciousness, suggesting a psychological incentive behind the pouring of words. Enough me talking—here’s a quick peek:“there are three kinds of womenhe told usthere are beautiful womenthere are ugly womenand then there are you twosince neither of us saw ourselvesas womenbeautifuluglyor otherwisewe took it as a compliment”“we teach our tongues to do acrobaticsour grandmotherswould have thought obscene”[This one is about the absurd confiscation of luggage pertaining to an Arab family at Newark airport in the US]“two clean plastic bagsfilled with zaatardeadliest of all mixturesmade from dried thymesesame seeds and sumaq;dipped with bread in olive oilit could create explosive happiness”

  • Christina Rau
    2019-02-18 03:02

    Because we can't give half or quarter stars, I'm clicking on 2 though 2 3/4 would be more appropriate. The title is so promising, and I wanted so much from this collection. Laila Halaby's speaker notes honest and simple insights into the reality of a post 9/11 world, especially concerning racial profiling and citizenship. The poems express feelings of not fitting in, loneliness, and sometimes quiet outrage. Two letters appear, poetic prose epistles that offer strong views on government and humanity. Some of the poems included anaphora. Some of the poems incorporated very short line length, reminding me of some of Nikki Giovanni's lines. However, they all fell short for me; I wanted something more in imagery, metaphor, diction. These were poems that mostly told instead of showing. I wanted to see more to feel more. Though moving in their meaning, they did not move enough in their showing or skill. It's an interesting little collection, but not memorable.

  • Andrea Blythe
    2019-02-19 02:59

    Halaby draws on her experiences as an Arab American to explore the duality of her experience and her general sense of homelessness. The poems read like passages from a memoir, illustrating her relation to two cultures, neither of which seem to fit properly. Her personal life mixes with her reactions to world events, such as the Iraq war or the bombing of Palestine. You can tell that Halaby was a fiction writer first, because her poems tend toward narrative. However, this is not simply prose broken up into lines. The lines of her poetry goes from long lines to short, choppy lines, which emphasis words and phrases to effectively evoke the imagery, metaphor, and disjointed emotions presented. On the whole this is a beautiful and intellectual book of poetry.

  • Jeannette
    2019-02-26 04:55

    I'm re-reading, or rather, I'm dipping, sipping and savoring these poems. I like the sound of her name Laila and somehow it sings the song of her Middle Eastern heritage. Laila has produced poems that serve as a memoir of her life navigating cultures. Where is home? Obviously we who travel and live in many places, need to keep home inside.I empathize with Laila and admire the way she uses her writing to make sense of herself, her upbringing, her status in close and wider relationships. Laila's sleek poems capture feelings and situations that resonate. An example:"mixed blood is like an old trailerthat's always frowned at because no matter where its parkedit's always out of place"

  • Leonard
    2019-03-09 04:49

    This is a fine book of Arab American poetry, a book whose author isn't afraid to share her perspective of the world. It includes a moving essay to an Israeli soldier and a letter to Pres. Obama after his first election to the White House. Both prose pieces are pleas imploring the readers to understand that suffering as well as the violation of human rights that are taking place against Palestinians around the world. This is moving writing, the kind of poetry and prose that uses the art of writing in the best way possible and that is to address the current issues this world faces, issues of justice, human rights, and freedom.

  • Christina Rodriguez
    2019-03-01 00:51

    Her way with language is so simple, yet profound. A writing style that won't overwhelm one with misunderstanding, but will wow a reader because of simple beauty and honesty.

  • BookJunkie
    2019-02-26 01:54

    This was a very thought provoking read. I enjoyed her style of writing and unique story-telling.