Suheir Hammad

Suheir Hammad Poems

leaves and leaving call october home
her daughter releases wood
smoke from her skin

poem supposed to be about
one minute and the lives of three women in it
writing it and up

it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath


his approach
to love he said
was that of a farmer

I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war

palestine's daughter
love making can be as dangerous
as curfews broken
guerillas hidden


The way loss seeps
into neck hollows
and curls at temples

Suheir Hammad Biography

Suheir Hammad (born October 25, 1973) is an American poet, author and political activist. She was born in Amman, Jordan. Her parents were Palestinian refugees who immigrated along with their daughter to Brooklyn, New York City when she was five years old. Her parents later moved to Staten Island. As an adolescent growing up in Brooklyn, Hammad was heavily influenced by Brooklyn's vibrant hip-hop scene. She had also absorbed the stories her parents and grandparents had told her of life in their hometown of Lydda, before the 1948 Palestinian exodus, and of the suffering they endured afterward, first in the Gaza Strip and then in Jordan. From these disparate influences Hammad was able to weave into her work a common narrative of dispossession, not only in her capacity as an immigrant, a Palestinian and a Muslim, but as a woman struggling against society's inherent sexism and as a poet in her own right. When hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons came across her piece entitled 'First Writing Since,' a poem describing her reaction to the September 11 attacks, he signed her to a deal with HBO's Def Poetry Jam. She recited original works on tour for the following two years. In 2008, she was cast in her first fiction role in cinema, the Palestinian film Salt of this Sea by Annemarie Jacir, which premiered at as an official selection of the Cannes International Film Festival. She is now working on her third publication which will be a book of prose. She will also be partaking in the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty Six Books where she has written a piece based upon a book of the King James Bible.)

The Best Poem Of Suheir Hammad


leaves and leaving call october home
her daughter releases wood
smoke from her skin
rich in scorpio
blood survived the first
flood each new year marks
a circle around her
thick bark middle
this the month summer and
winter fall into each
other and leave orange
yellow ashes
the vibrancy of death
carry it all
coiled in my belly
cut on the cusp
of libra tail
tips the scales
tonight it is raining in
the tradition of my parents
wanted a daughter not a writer
happy birthday poet
who loves you baby
the way your mama did
under her breast the way your
father did under his breath
leaves and leaving have known
my name intimately
i harvest pumpkins
to offer the river eat
buttered phoenix meat
to celebrate a new year
new cipher for my belly
i got a new name
secret nobody knows
the cold can't call me
leaving won't know
where to find me
october gonna hide me
in her harvest in
her seasons
happy birthday daughter
of the falling

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