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Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz is named a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry! Learn more.

The Wild Fox of Yemen

Threa Almontaser
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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Winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, selected by Harryette Mullen


  • “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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