poem index


Fady Joudah

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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.


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

by this poet


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


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


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