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Three Graywolf Titles Longlisted for the National Book Awards: Abundance by Jakob Guanzon for Fiction, The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernández for Translated Literature, and The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser for Poetry

Book Title

The Wild Fox of Yemen

Author 1
Threa Almontaser
Poem Excerpt
One day, nameless limbs, small square
of sidewalk, like a fig fallen too soon.
The next, a gang member’s mascot, beast 
born from an Arab’s love, coked-up rats. 
A woman in tragedy will also grow that fast,
turn from whimpers to wind in seconds 
with the right kind of violence, and after, 
make herself a home for the lost 
who look for it.
—from “Ode to Bodega Cats”
By turns aggressively reckless and fiercely protective, always guided by faith and ancestry, Threa Almontaser’s incendiary debut asks how mistranslation can be a form of self-knowledge and survival. A love letter to the country and people of Yemen, a portrait of young Muslim womanhood in New York after 9/11, and an extraordinarily composed examination of what it means to carry in the body the echoes of what came before, Almontaser’s polyvocal collection sneaks artifacts to and from worlds, repurposing language and adapting to the space between cultures. Half-crunk and hungry, speakers move with the force of what cannot be contained by the limits of the American imagination, and instead invest in troublemaking and trickery, navigate imperial violence across multiple accents and anthems, and apply gang signs in henna, utilizing any means necessary to form a semblance of home. In doing so, The Wild Fox of Yemen fearlessly rides the tension between carnality and tenderness in the unruly human spirit.

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7 x 9
Winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, selected by Harryette Mullen

About the Author

Threa  Almontaser
Credit: Yasmin Ali
Threa Almontaser is a Yemeni American author from New York City. Almontaser's debut collection of poetry, The Wild Fox of Yemen, was selected for the 2020 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets by Harryette Mullen. Her work can be found in the Adroit Journal, Passages North, Diode Poetry JournalThe Rumpus, wildness, and elsewhere. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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  • “The beautifully crafted poems can feel like mini-histories, intricate narratives spanning only a few pages. They overflow with richness and opportunities for interpretation, shifting between Arabic and English; yet they are self-contained and pointed as a missile.”Chicago Review of Books
  • “The spirit of Whitman lives in these poems that sing and celebrate a vibrant, rebellious body with all its physical and spiritual entanglements. Formally and linguistically diverse, these bold, defiant declarations of ‘reckless’ embodiment acknowledge the self’s nesting identities, proclaiming the individual's intricate relations to others, the one in the many and the many in the one. Ultimately, they ask how to belong to others without losing oneself, how to be faithful to oneself without forsaking others. Exuberant dialogues incorporate communities of known and unknown interlocutors along with translations of the Yemeni poet Abdullah Al-Baradouni.”—Harryette Mullen, judge’s statement for the Walt Whitman Award
  • “Really one could not say enough good things about the poems of Threa Almontaser in The Wild Fox of Yemen. . . . With counterpoints of old and new worlds, and full love and care for possibility, in brilliant rushes of language, these poems know it's so hard to be all we are, but they rise to every occasion.”—Naomi Shihab Nye
  • “In these astonishing poems, [Threa Almontaser] razes all that would constrict her, forges new possibilities. Her language is rebellious, mischievous, curious, rich with refusals and tenderness. Her imagination startles. . . . It also eulogizes, translates, heckles. The Wild Fox of Yemen is an intoxicating debut.”—Eduardo C. Corral
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