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Look

Poems
Solmaz Sharif
Daily I sit
with the language
they’ve made
 
of our language
 
to NEUTRALIZE
the CAPABILITY of LOW DOLLAR VALUE ITEMs
like you.
 
You are what is referred to as
a “CASUALTY.”
 
-from “Personal Effects”
Solmaz Sharif’s astonishing first book, Look, asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable losses of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family’s and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed, in America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discriminations endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.

At the same time, these poems point to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout this collection are words and phrases lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; in their seamless inclusion, Sharif exposes the devastating euphemisms deployed to sterilize the language, control its effects, and sway our collective resolve. But Sharif refuses to accept this terminology as given, and instead turns it back on its perpetrators. “Let it matter what we call a thing,” she writes. “Let me look at you.”
 

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-744-3
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
112
Trim Size
6 x 9
A powerful, innovative exploration of the language of war by a new poet of passion and conscience

About the Author

Solmaz  Sharif
Credit: Arash Saedinia
Solmaz Sharif is the author of Look. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Her poetry has appeared in Granta, the New Republic, and Poetry. She is a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

https://solmazsharif.com/
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Upcoming Events

Solmaz Sharif reading at Poetry Foundation

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Poetry Foundation in Chicago, ILview map

Solmaz Sharif reading at Grinnell College

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Grinnell College in Grinnell, IAview map
Location: Faulconer Gallery, BCA.

Solmaz Sharif reading at Grinnell College as part of Writers@Grinnell

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Grinnell College in Grinnell, IAview map
Location: Faulconer Gallery, BCA.

Solmaz Sharif reading at the Loft at Open Book

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The Loft at Open Book in Minneapolis, MNview map
Reading with Anis Mojgani and Donte Collins. Tickets are $10.

Praise

  • “[An] excellent debut collection. . . . An artful lexicographer, Sharif shows us that the diameter of a word is often as devastating as the diameter of a bomb.”The New York Times Book Review
  • “Remarkable. . . . By turns fierce and tender, the poems are a searing response to American intervention.”The New Yorker
  • “Remarkable. . . . Every piece underscores the importance of how we view and name things.”The Washington Post
  • “[Sharif] forces you to suspend yourself and consider your relationship to language really deeply.”—NPR, All Things Considered
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