A poetry collection by Doyali Islam.

Doyali Islam

How does one inhabit a world in which the moon and the drone hang in the same sky? How can one be at home in one's own body in the presence of suspected autoimmune illness, chronic/recurrent pain, and a society that bears down with a particular construct of normal female sexual experience? What might a daughter salvage within a fraught relationship with a cancer-stricken father? Uncannily at ease with both high lyricism and formal innovation and invention, these poems are unafraid to lift up and investigate burdens and ruptures of all kinds — psychic, social, cultural, physical, and political.

Providing continuity over the poet's visually-arresting forms — including Islam's self-termed split sonnets, double sonnets, and parallel poems — is allied remembrance of the resilience of the Palestinian people. Yet, the work doesn't always stray far from home, with a quintet of astro-poems that weave together myth and memory.

Here is a poet small in stature, unwilling to abandon to silence small histories, small life forms, and the small courages and beauties of the ordinary hour. In these rigorous, intimate, and luminous poems, the spirit of the everyday and the spirit of witness bind fiercely to one another. heft is a ledger of tenderness, survival, and risk. (From McClelland & Stewart )

Why Doyali Islam wrote Heft

"I think poetry is a physical art. I love poetry because when I'm reading poetry or when I'm writing poetry, it allows me to trespass into so many things: gentleness, curiosity, anger, unexpected kinship, tenderness and longing. When I have a poem close to me, and have it memorized, I inhabit my body better when I recite as I walk. It's a physical feeling of something pressing urgently at my chest. Then I know I'm in the terrain of poetry and that there's something that I want to work through in a poem; something I want to question.

I think poetry is a physical art.- Doyali Islam

"I always think about the Persian poet Saadi Shirazi. He said if a part of the body is in pain, all of the other parts of the body contract with pain. If you are not concerned with another human's suffering we shall not call you human. I honestly don't understand how people can go about their day and not feel so impinged upon by injustice, but also by the ways that people rebuild their lives."

Read more in Doyali Islam's interview with The Next Chapter.

Interviews with Doyali Islam

Doyali Islam talks to Shelagh Rogers about her book of poetry, Heft.


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