Suheir Hammad

(1973 / Palestinian / American)

Biography of Suheir Hammad

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.

PoemHunter.com Updates

land

his approach
to love he said
was that of a farmer
most love like
hunters and like
hunters most kill
what they desire
he tills
soil through toes
nose in the wet
earth he waits
prays to the gods
and slowly harvests
ever thankful

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