Here are 7 poetry collections by muslim writers, full of verses that celebrates the multiplicity of Islamic identity
Seam by Tarfia Faizullah
This book taught me so much about history: how it never remains in the past, how it always continues to inform and influence the present. Tarfia takes a close look at the Birangona, which means “brave women” in Bengali and refers to the two hundred thousand women who were raped and tortured by the Pakistani army during the 1971 Liberation War. Threading their stories with her own, Tarfia examines what it means to be a child of history in these incredible poems.
Aisha writes with such stunning lyrical bluntness that keeps me coming back for more. This book is expansive, and topics of family, sisterhood, Islamophobia and Blackness thread seamlessly throughout the poems. There’s so much form-play in this book, and one of my favorite sequences is the “If My Parents Hadn’t Converted: Questions and Answers,” a series of questions that are answered by a bouquet of poems.
The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony by Ladan Osman
The way Ladan wields language, wields a word, makes language feel limitless. This is a collection of poems to reread forever—startling and elegant and, if you’ll forgive my use of this simplest of words, so damn interesting. Their humor, their teeth. I read these poems, I return to these poems, over and over, and feel my eyes clear.
The Twenty-Ninth Year by Hala Alyan
The Twenty-Ninth Year is a recent release but already a favorite of mine. This book, filled with the tenderest of geographies, with great intimacies and great ruptures, is cinematic and gripping. I first read it in one sitting, ravenous, then flipped over and started it again.
Invasive species by Marwa Helal
This book, its poet, their identities, all burst with multitudes, with their wealth of names. Genre, race, nationality, language—the single-word answer doesn’t do justice to the nuances of the story. Marwa builds here a new kind of world, a new way of looking at form, at genre, at America—unmaking the old, expanding its possibilities and dissolving its borders until it fits us.
I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had Onby Khadijah Queen
These vivid prose poems could almost be read at first as casual, breezily and concisely collecting stories of interactions with famous men—but right below the unruffled surface is a dark, haunting meditation on sexual violence, on the kinds of casual sexual violence that stay normalized. Funny, smart, sharp, and also terrifying.
Field Theories by Samiya Bashir
There are so many worlds occuring in the poems of Samiya Bashir! I am forever floored by how Samiya’s poems turn and turn and turn, leading us to new discoveries with each and every line. This collection is an unbelievable blend of science, mythology, and folklore.
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