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Blog Book Review: Geographies of Light, Poems by Lisa Suhair Majaj
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined


Geographies of Light takes us to a place both shockingly foreign and familiar as a heartbeat, a place of breastfeeding babies, childhood afternoons on the riverbank, family homes crushed into dust, body parts strewn across rubble. We recognize it and we cannot fathom it:

Love is in the details.
I want to know what that man,
twenty-five years old,
killed at his window
cradling his daughter in his arms,
ate for breakfast.

Lisa Suhair Majaj is Palestinian-American. She grew up in Jordan, was educated in Lebanon and in the US and now lives in Cyprus with her family. Her poems bridge these geographic boundaries with the universal theme of loss. She writes of slow, agonizing departure and of frantic fleeing, of relationships born into and torn apart by senseless, endless war.

This alone would make for a memorable collection, but Geographies of Light is more than memorable. It is intimate. A thread of humanness winds through the poems - a reminder of that which ties us together - and the middle section of the book contains seven poems on mothering. It is fitting that these should form the core of the book. Motherhood endures.


Geographies of Light, poems by Lisa Suhair Majaj