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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, 2014) 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, 2014)
Alight (Copper Canyon Press, 2013)
The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008)

When the Grandmother Dies

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 will eat
okra each day

fresh & leftover
till it tastes like ash




When the grandmother dies

the groundskeeper will beg for cash
he comforts her he'll say

& the sisters
will reply

Were it not for you
the dead would have died


About this poem:
"This poem was composed on a cellphone text message. Each section is exactly 160 characters long according to text message parameters. The poem is part of a book-long thread, titled Textu, forthcoming from Copper Canyon press in e-format, in which all the poems were composed as text messages of exactly 160 characters long. "

Fady Joudah

Copyright © 2013 by Fady Joudah. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Fady Joudah. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Fady Joudah

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

by this poet

poem

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

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

Does consciousness exist only when
you name it?  Was the double helix a
stranger, the nucleus the  first brain?
I feel  therefore I am.  This  is  more
peptide than pep-talk. The tongueless
mood is sticking its tongue out at us.
The mountian  wool is  shaved into
vineyards.