Read E-mails from Scheherazad by Mohja Kahf Online


"Perhaps Kahf's most impressive accomplishment is her ability to bring together beauty and pain in the same breath, to write poems that encompass history and human endurance as well as joy, that testify to the fragility and power of the human heart. . . . This is Kahf's ultimate message: that religion and ethnicity and color and nationality are as nothing in the face of si"Perhaps Kahf's most impressive accomplishment is her ability to bring together beauty and pain in the same breath, to write poems that encompass history and human endurance as well as joy, that testify to the fragility and power of the human heart. . . . This is Kahf's ultimate message: that religion and ethnicity and color and nationality are as nothing in the face of simple humanity; that spirituality and life are beyond all of these, that no creed or ideology may be taken as justification for harm."--Lisa Suhair Majaj   Kahf establishes herself as a new voice in the tradition of ethnic American poets, blending the experiences of recent Arab-American immigrants into contemporary American scenery.  In her poems, Muslim ritual and Qur'anic vocabulary move in next door to the idiom of suburban Americana, and the legendary Scheherazad of the Thousand and One Nights shows up in New Jersey, recast as a sophisticated postcolonial feminist. Kahf’s carefully crafted poems do not speak only to important issues of ethnicity, gender, and religious diversity in America, but also to universal human themes of family and kinship, friendship, and the search for a place to pray.  She chronicles the specific griefs and pleasures of the immigrant and writes an amulet for womanly power in the face of the world’s terrors. Her poetic energy is provocative and sassy, punctuated now and then with a darker poem of elegiac sadness or refined rage.Mohja Kahf is associate professor of comparative literature at the University of Arkansas....

Title : E-mails from Scheherazad
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780813026213
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

E-mails from Scheherazad Reviews

  • Sarah
    2019-06-24 06:27

    What I love the most about poetry is that it provides a powerful voice for those who are often left voiceless.Mohja Kahf has proven in this collection to be one of the most vibrant voices.She is a dynamic, feisty writer who insists on critiquing as well as celebrating her own multiple culture contexts, whether it is Arab, Muslim or American.She writes as a Muslim feminist whose project is to dismantle the rigid stereotypes that so often constrain Muslim women.What is interesting about her poetry is that you can feel it clearly as a form of resistance. She believes that storytelling and words gives you power.Hijab Scene # 7 No, I’m not bald under the scarfNo, I'm not from that country where women can't drive carsNo, I would not like to defectI'm already AmericanBut thank you for offeringWhat else do you need to knowrelevant to my buying insurance,opening a bank account,reserving a seat on a flight?Yes, I speak EnglishYes, I carry explosivesThey're called wordsAnd if you don't get upOff your assumptionsThey're going to blow you away. Her voice takes on particular power in poems that explore the cultural schism experienced by the children of immigrants. She interrogates ,through language, the Arab and American identity.Here's a sneak peak:Men Kill Me Men kill meHow they think the sun is all for themand the water is all for themHow they accept the wind at their backsas if the wind was the handmaid of their fatherand they inherited her without a murmurMen kill meHow they think the earth of green and gold and Godis all for themHow they feel generous in leaving one small spotbetween four walls for all the women in the worldHow they swallow all the meadows’ wild color upon colorand feel grand if they remember to bringone red rose for a womanMen kill meHow, if a woman takes one ray of the sunor cuts a river through the water,they accuse her of violatingthe Copernican order,of upsetting the orbits of the planetsand the orbits of the pilgrims at the Ka’baMen kill meHow they forget that the world is restingon the back of a tortoiseand the tortoise is poised on a spiderand the spider is dangling like a drop of sweatfrom the temple of the woman scrubbing the floorunder the feet of Copernicus and the pilgrims at the Ka’ba.The Marvelous WomenAll women speak two languages:
the language of men 
and the language of silent suffering.
 Some women speak a third, 
the language of queens.They are marvelous and they are my friends. I really loved this collection. Very heart-touching and empowering.

  • Emad Attili
    2019-06-16 05:56

    ‏[Days passed in another country, like photographswith our silhouettes cut off, where one daywe would fit back in, we thought.]This is a wonderful anthology.Kahf was really honest dealing with the identity crisis which Arab-Americans suffer from - Arab-Muslim women specifically.Throughout her poems she fought for freedom, and just like Sheherazad, Kahf used words (poetry) to protect herself as a representative of the Arab-Muslim women, and to protect her sisters from the dishonest orientalist representation of them in western mainstream culture. She provided a voice to the absent, marginalized, and voiceless women in diaspora.

  • Brady O'Callahan
    2019-06-27 03:56

    Hi I think this is fucking beautiful.

  • Gretchen
    2019-06-17 05:55

    The poetry in this collection is truly powerful. Kahf's images and the rawness behind her statements are amazing.

  • Jenny
    2019-06-25 04:56

    I taught this in Other Voices, and it went best of all the volumes of poetry. It's a fantastic volume!

  • Emma
    2019-06-20 01:47

    My stars are based on my own experience of how much I enjoyed the book, but overall, I would give this five stars for quality. Kahf's writing is fantastic because it opens up multiple topics of discussion while simply telling her story through well-written poetry. Reading her poems taught me to open up my world, not only to a genre that I don't normally enjoy, but to seeing things through the perspective of a Muslim immigrant. The only critique that I have is that Kahf uses a lot of sexual references in her poems, especially those of a feminist flavor, which i felt was in poor taste.

  • Mari
    2019-05-30 01:33

    This book of poetry addresses the experience of a Muslim woman in the United States (specifically in the rather whitewashed Midwest). I found her take on the experience of split identity between her family's homeland (and traditions) and her own in the U.S. (these are intermixed) particularly poignant. I also enjoyed her engagement with Star Trek.I could have done without her reveling in the female form (I am averse to "queen" imagery, and the enjoyment of the female above all else), but I thoroughly enjoyed most of her poems; even her (often short) hijab poems packed quite a punch, and her opener, "Voyager Dust," has stuck with me.I would recommend this work to anyone reading contemporary fiction, particularly anyone looking for a nuanced engagement with cultural diversity (even if it's cultural diversity within the individual).

  • Katya
    2019-06-05 04:54

    Kahf's poetry is what I think of when I think of poetry - lyrical, yet still accessible; dealing with complex and personal issues in a poignant, thought-provoking way; enjoyable to read. While I am not Syrian or Muslim, I am an immigrant and I saw some of my own experiences and emotions in Kahf's semi-autobigraphical writing, the loneliness and confusion and richness of belonging to several places at once, always missing the other. I love the empowerment in her words, the uplifting of women, one's personal relationship with the Divine. I love her humor and her sadness, her honesty. This is a near-perfect poetry collection, and may be one that will take permanent residence on my bookshelves.

  • C
    2019-05-30 06:54

    "It is my fate / like this, like this, to kiss / the creases around the eyes and the eyes / that they may recognize each other..." - Fayetteville as in FateReally good as political speech. Not my favorite type of poetry, but the words do other work for to which directness and clarity are well suited and I enjoyed them.

  • Pascale
    2019-06-09 00:40

    A surprisingly accessible (Note: I generally avoid poetry) collection of poems, -some stronger than others-, about subjects such as immigration, womanhood, war, etc. from the perspective of a Syrian-born author.

  • Fred Daly
    2019-06-04 04:49

    Poems by a Syrian-American woman. At first I thought they were just okay, covering familiar hyphenated-American turf. But as the collection goes on, the poems turn toward issues of gender and politics, and they become biting, tough, and often hilarious. Count me as a fan.

  • Kayla Perry
    2019-06-12 00:57

    I really liked this collection of poetry! I read it for an Arab American Lit class, but I'm interested in reading more of her writing beyond this.I actually ended up writing a short story using lines from her poem Email from Scheherazad and the process was intriguing.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-22 05:39

    Very accessible volume of poetry that nonetheless explores the questions of religion, gender, race, etc.

  • Miami University Libraries
    2019-06-26 05:45

    King Library (2nd floor) | PS3611.A66 E43 2003

  • Rachael
    2019-06-06 06:39

    A beautiful collection of modern poetry that reflects the complexities of our time as well as the immigrant's struggle with identity, ignorance, and intolerance.

  • Teacherhuman
    2019-05-29 01:55

    oh I do not know why I'd not read this before now...a sweet, sweet book!

  • Theodora
    2019-06-03 00:38

    Rich book. Looking forward to hearing more from Mohja in the future.

  • Rachel
    2019-06-25 01:51

    So You Think You Know Scheherazad for chills and Ishtar Awakens in Chicago for power.