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About this poet

Fady Joudah was born in Austin, Texas, in 1971. The son of Palestinian refugees, he grew up in Libya and Saudi Arabia before returning to the United States for college. He attended the University of Georgia–Athens, the Medical College of Georgia, and the University of Texas, where he completed his studies in internal medicine.

In 2007 his first poetry collection, The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008), was selected by Louise Glück as the winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets. In her foreword Glück writes, “Joudah’s model is less the allegory than the folktale, his language a language in which the anecdotal past is stored, renewed, and affirmed in the retellings. So, too, the chilling testimony of landscape becomes in language fixed, permanent, a means of both affirming and sustaining outrage.”

Joudah is also the author of Textu (Copper Canyon Press, 2013) and Alight (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s The Butterfly’s Burden (Copper Canyon Press, 2006) was a finalist for the 2008 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and his translation of Ghassan Zaqtan’s Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me (Yale University Press, 2012), won the 2013 International Griffin Poetry Prize.

Alongside his poetry, Joudah volunteers for Doctors Without Borders and serves as an ER physician. He lives in Houston, Texas.


Bibliography

Textu (Copper Canyon Press, 2013)
Alight (Copper Canyon Press, 2013)
The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008)

Anonymous Song

When the shooting began
Everyone ran to the trucks
Grabbed whatever their backs needed
And made for the trucks
Except K

And they begged him to get on
The ones who ran to the trucks
But he refused them all

Later they found him
On the road running
And howling and still
He refused them all
Since he knew
His legend would grow

Then sightings began
He was clothed or naked
Cooking or sleeping
Eating or drinking what
The others gave him

And their begging remained the same
The trucks going loaded
Then coming back empty the same
Until it was forgotten
When K had first lost his mind

Before the shooting started
Or much worse after

One thing for sure
K is real
Safe and sweet especially
Holding a baby to sleep
Or asking for a sip of your Fanta
Or calling out your name from where

You cannot see him 

Copyright © 2008 by Fady Joudah. From The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Copyright © 2008 by Fady Joudah. From The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Fady Joudah

Fady Joudah

Fady Joudah, born in Texas in 1971, is the author of Textu (Copper Canyon Press).

by this poet

poem

Thank you for dreaming of me
for letting me know
for waking up to remember that you dreamed
I never wake up when I dream of you

What woke you up
was it someone
else’s body?

A small thrill a little secret is ours
a desire for safe

poem

Days been dark
don’t say “in these dark days”
done changed my cones and rods

Sometimes I’m the country
other times the countryside

I put my clothes back on
to take them off again

2
poem

it'll be kept secret
from her four daughters

who'll be flying in
from three different countries

after years of absence
reunion ends



When the grandmother dies

it'll ruin summertime
for the grandkids who

in their mothers' grief