Saturday, March 23, 2019

Review: Halal If You Hear Me: The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3

Halal If You Hear Me: The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3 Halal If You Hear Me: The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 3 by Fatimah Asghar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This collection is the third in the BreakBeat Poets series, all of which are highly recommends - The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop followed by The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. There are some poets shared between this volume and the others, although this one focuses on poets of Muslim identities, often at the intersection of blackness and brownness, or claiming space inside/next to Muslim identity for varying gender and sexual identities. All through words, transcribed, proclaimed, and collected here.

Two poets I have previously appreciated edited the volume - Safia Elhillo (The January Children) and Fatimah Asghar (If They Come for Us.) Some of my previous favorites are represented here as well - Tarfia Faizullah Registers of Illuminated Villages: Poems and Warsan Shire (you may know her best from being the poet behind the spoken parts of Beyonce's Lemonade.) Many of the poets I have encountered previously in some of the new-generation African or African American poet chapbook sets from Akashic, but it felt like most of the poems in this collection were new.

Some of my favorite discoveries in this volume:

Nadra Mabrouk - Memory in Which We Are Not Singing But You Are Home
Sahar Romani - Burden of Proof (available at The Offing Magazine
H.H. - QM
Zaina Alsous - On Longing (available at Glass: A Journal of Poetry)

But it's all good. All recommended.

I did receive a review copy of this from the publisher through Edelweiss, but this was pretty much a sure thing for me to read regardless. It comes out April 23, 2019.

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