LENA KHALAF TUFFAHA
We are honored (and excited) this evening to host a much-anticipated debut, and to give voice to one of the first readings of a second just-published work as poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha celebrates publication of her first full-length collection, Water & Salt (Red Hen Press), and will also have in hand her newly-released chapbook, Arab in Newsland, recipient of Two Sylvia Press’ 2016 Chapbook Prize. Both collections draw on Lena Khalaf Tuffaha’s engaged way of being alive and in the world, a world that for her includes Palestine, Jordan, and Syria, as well as the U.S. She has translated others from the Arabic (Iraqi poet Faiza Sultan among them) and had poems published in numerous journals and anthologies. Tonight, though, marks her own first books.
“The poems in Water & Salt travel across borders between cultures and languages, between the present and the living past. These poems alternately rage, laugh, celebrate and grieve, singing in the voices of people ravaged by cycles of war and news coverage and inviting the reader to see the human lives lived beyond the headlines. . . The poems in Water & Salt are fearless and frank. They speak of a place where a phone call announces doom and where portraits find their frames. But always, despite the violence and war, in the music of Tuffahas poetry there is a clear summons, beckoning us to join in the feast of her language. These are poems that rise, surge, and stir us.” -Oliver de La Paz.
"For me, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha writes the absolutely essential, crucial, elegant poems many of us yearn for in our frustrated longings for a connected world." -- Naomi Shihab Nye.