by Suheir Hammad

Tony award‐winning poet, Suheir Hammad departs from her previous books with a bold and explosive style to do what the best poets have always done: create a new language. Using “break” as a trigger for every poem, Hammad deconstructs, constructs, and reconstructs the English language for us to hear the sound of a breath, a womanʹs body, a land, a culture, falling apart, broken, and put back together again.


"Incantatory and powerful, Suheir Hammad's voice compels you in these new poems to enact a beautiful revolution, a retrieval from the very heart of loss. Everything falls on the off beat, wa love, wa body, wa life, wa freedom."
—Chris Abani

"Suheir Hammad's break introduces English to an Arabic vernacular that startles into being an altogether new language, bridging the archipelago of a Palestine under siege to the diaspora and beyond, breaking through convention, breaking open locks on mind and heart, breaking into a music inspired by the Coltranes, Sun Ra and free jazz, Lee Scratch Perry and Ravi Shankar, a music that is at once a joyous celebration of survival and a poignant cri de Coeur that cannot be ignored and that Mahmoud Darwish should have lived to see. This is a poetry written for people who have endured the winds of hurricanes and invasions. What wisdom, energy, joy and poignancy Hammad brings to the page-for all of this, and for teaching me a new speaking, I give her my thanks."
—Carolyn Forché

"breaking poems takes on the geographic lines that have bound women for ages and marked their bodies, their selves with the lines of unjust notions of property and exploitation. These are poems that inform the dreams of a world that honors woman and honors woman speaking her own voice, breaking the bonds of old worlds with bright moments, bright moments, bright moments."
—Afaa Michael Weaver

Suheir Hammad’s work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and numerous publications. She was a co-writer and original cast member in the Tony-award winning Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. An Amherst College Aaron Copeland Fellow, she stars in the movie Salt of the Sea. The author of Born Palestenian, Born Black; Drops of This Story and ZataarDiva, Suheir has won several awards for her writing, including The Audre Lorde Poetry Award, a Van Lier Fellowship, and a Sister of Fire Award.