Arya asks what's east
of Westeros, and I think of blown out candles,
wax-caked calloused hands, a history
at the bottom of the river, neither buried
nor capable of drifting away.
Winner of the 2017 Diode Editions chapbook contest, Red//Jild//Prayer is a meditation on the trauma and triumph of diaspora; an interrogation of the various ways through which we make sense of our separation from the homeland. Sandwiched between dictatorship at home, and relentless racism here, the Egyptian American
cannot seem to escape political violence. Red//Jild//Prayer surveys these various forms of violence in the hopes of coming towards some kind
of breathing room; a space where we can name what has been to us and our home(s).
More praise for Red//Jild//Prayer:
“Hazem Fahmy’s Red // Jild // Prayer is the type of book that builds a world for the reader to step into. Everything has a life: the streets, the waters, the bodies of people looking for survival. Peep the care taken with images, the ability to craft complicated declarations of faith. ‘I suppose no matter how much we don’t believe in God / we still know how to pray.’ This book is a long, slow, glorious prayer. Fahmy is a confident emerging voice, with thrilling potential.” —Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib author of The Crown Ain’t Worth Much
“Hazem Fahmy presents us here with a collection that is simultaneously profoundly intimate and sharply political, marked by desire and its implications and shaped by questions of postcolonialism, faith, and language. These poems deftly defamiliarize ‘a very old world,’ to use the poet’s words, and make it strange and so exciting. How thrilling it is to be a reader, an Arab, and a child of the Nile, in this moment—to have Hazem’s work to reach for.” —Safia Elhillo author of The January Children
“As Hazem Fahmy weaves their trajectory as a person and artist living in an unsteady world between homeland and diaspora, their writing operates similarly between formal and cultural influences that press upon their craft at all sides. But Fahmy sharpens their tongue against each incisor. Here we have histories, traumas, and bodies that refuse to be swallowed. Instead, they form a new tongue that speaks to us of skin, of burning, of an ancestral language living inside both. This collection is one of urgency. It is pointing to all of the windows containing us inside of tired conversation, then one by one, shattering each window down to sand. Then comes the love letter to sand, to body, to sun, to film, until softness becomes of this voice, part of a larger diaspora that is not often allowed multitudes under the thumb of empire. What a gift of a collection.” —Jess Rizkallah, author of the magic my body becomes
Hazem Fahmy is a Pushcart-nominated poet and critic from Cairo. He is currently pursuing his MA in Middle Eastern Studies and Film Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. His debut chapbook, Red//Jild//Prayer won the 2017 Diode Editions Contest. A Kundiman and Watering Hole Fellow, his poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Apogee, AAWW, Mizna, and The Offing. His performances have been featured on Button Poetry andWrite About Now. He is a reader for the Shade Journal, and a contributing writer to Film Inquiry.