The Moon That Turns You Back: Poems (Paperback)

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The Moon That Turns You Back: Poems (Paperback)

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(Poetry)

Staff Reviews


If you’re looking for a book of poetry that will cut you open, scoop you out, and radicalize you– you’ve found it. Hala Alyan’s poetry pulls you into body and lived experience in a way I’ve seen few poets do. This collection of poetry is formally spectacular, peppered with ‘Interactive Fictions,’ poems written in Python, and reimagined found poems which incorporate medical records and charts. The Moon That Turns You Back paints loss of home through an array of events: the brutal genocides in her mother country of Palestine, her miscarriage due to ectopic pregnancy, her struggles with substance abuse. It asks us: where do we put the griefs that are too hard to name?

— From Wroxy

From the author of The Arsonists’ City and The Twenty-Ninth Year, a new collection of poetry that traces the fragmentation of memory, archive, and family–past, present, future–in the face of displacement and war.

A diaspora of memories runs through this poetry collection—a multiplicity of voices, bodies, and houses hold archival material for one another, tracing paths between Brooklyn, Beirut, and Jerusalem. Boundaries and borders blur between space and time and poetic form—small banal moments of daily life live within geopolitical brutalities and, vice versa, the desire for stability lives in familiarity with displacement.

These poems take stock of who and what can displace you from home and from your own body—and, conversely, the kind of resilience, tenacity, and love that can bring you back into yourself and into the context of past and future generations. Hala Alyan asks, What stops you from transforming into someone or something else? When you have lived a life in flux, how do you find rest?

Hala Alyan is the author of the novel Salt Houses, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award, and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize. Her latest novel, The Arsonists’ City, was a finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize. She is also the author of five highly acclaimed collections of poetry, including The Twenty-Ninth Year. Her work has been published by The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets, Literary Hub, The New York Times Book Review, and Guernica. She lives in Brooklyn with her family, where she works as a clinical psychologist and professor at New York University.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063317475
ISBN-10: 0063317478
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 112
Language: English

"[Hala] Alyan's fifth book of poetry grapples heroically with the fissures of family and lineage caused by displacement and migration." — Booklist (starred review)

"The formally inventive and devastatingly evocative latest from Alyan (The Twenty-Ninth Year) reckons with grief, displacement, and enduring kinship. From Beirut to the U.S. to Jerusalem to Kuwait, Alyan draws from her experience as a Palestinian American to examine where one’s home is under occupation and forced displacement....These powerful poems linger long in the mind." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Hala Alyan offers us a magnificent reckoning and witnessing. These poems are a dazzling achievement, singing of a body/bodies tethered to tenderness and hope, even in the face of landscapes that don't always offer ‘...good and patient soil.’” — Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders

"I will read anything Hala Alyan writes, knowing always that time spent in the company of her work makes me a better reader, a better writer, a more empathetic creature. Here is a writer who wields simultaneity to fascinating, beautiful effect: poems that are simultaneously stark and lush, blunt and experimental, crackling with tension, with tenderness. The poems in The Moon That Turns You Back are some of my favorite work by one of my favorite poets. I hope to spend a long lifetime with this book." — Safia Elhillo, author of Girls That Never Die

“Every line of Hala Alyan’s The Moon That Turns You Back drips with intentional craft, with brilliance. Hala’s ability to marry poetic experimentation with the deep tenderness of living makes these poems urgent, necessary, and loving. I feel honored to be alive in a time where I can read Hala Alyan, where I can devour book after book, where I can bask in her gorgeous heart. This book is a gift, those of us who encounter it should consider ourselves lucky.”
Fatimah Asghar, author of If They Come For Us

"A bountiful collection of poetry...spellbinding...Hala Alyan renders rich, intricate landscapes of heritage and place." — BookPage