Fall 2023 Poetry Preview: People You Know, Places You’ve Been by Hana Shafi | Book*hug Press

Fall 2023 Poetry Preview: People You Know, Places You’ve Been by Hana Shafi

Today’s Fall Poetry Preview features People You Know, Places You’ve Been by Hana Shafi!

The latest poetry and artwork collection from Hana Shafi examines the everyday connections we make to the people and places we encounter. Despite the infinite variations of our lives, every urban dweller has sparred with a neighbour they disliked, seen beautiful strangers on public transit, told secrets to their hairdresser. We interact with these supporting characters on a daily basis—and often we are them for others.

Shafi celebrates the Antiheroes of the world (the alcoholic at your local bar, teenage girls); examines those in Beautiful Leading Roles (the hot professor, the rich couple); lauds older generations of Wizards and Crones; and flags the Nemeses (men who think they’re allies, competitors for produce at farmer’s markets). We sink into recognition at depictions of Palaces such as the greasy spoon, Dungeons of public transit, and the Liminal Spaces of checkout counters or waiting rooms (including that one at the end of the cosmos).

People You Know, Places You’ve Been is an insightful, charming collection that offers a sense of shared recognition and nostalgia, ultimately asking: what if seemingly mundane places are actually the foundations of who you are?

People You Know, Places You’ve Been is a spellbinding collection of poems and drawings that thoughtfully describes the discomfort and beauty of everyday life. Shafi skillfully pairs humour and tenderness to depict familiar people and places through a lens of nostalgia, rage, and feminist thought,” writes Ambivalently Yours, author of Fire and Other Feelings.

We’re happy to share an introduction from Hana Shafi!

In addition, we’ve selected a poem from the collection to share with you today. People You Know, Places You’ve Been will be released on October 12, 2023, and is available for pre-order from our online shop or from your local independent bookstore.

apple pie

when my friend leaves, they say
he’s regrouping
i think that’s because alcohol scatters people

i imagine
if he was a million pieces
thrown upon the sidewalk
he’d be coins, and multicoloured jelly beans,
and bottle caps, and pencils,
and teeth, and copper,
and those random pieces of
gravel or sand
that somehow end up in all old pockets

a lot of alcoholics are like that
there’s one at the local bar
those pre-plague times
when he didn’t see me for a month
he’d say it’s been a year
i tell him it’s not the case
then acquiesce
“yes, it’s been a year,”
i figure his memories are scattered
and they areas bright as they are blurry,
and friendly, and kind,
and hopeful,
and lost too

my friend left with me
our unfinished art project
his pencil remained
it needs my ink
friend, i will finish your drawing
while you pick up
the scattered things on the sidewalk
worn and lovely,
grimy and gleaming,
and tuck them back into yourself
beneath familiar skin
where all scattered things go

Hana Shafi is a writer and artist who illustrates under the name Frizz Kid. Both her visual art and writing frequently explore themes such as feminism, body politics, racism, and pop culture. She’s published articles in publications such as The WalrusHazlitt and This Magazine, and has been featured on Buzzfeed, CBC, Flare Magazine, and Shameless. She received the Women Who Inspire Award from the Canadian Council for Muslim Women in 2017. Her first book, It Begins With The Body was selected by CBC books as one of the best poetry books of 2018. Her second book, a compilation of essays and illustrations from her notable affirmation art series, titled Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty: Affirmations for the Real World came out in 2020. Hana and her family immigrated to Mississauga from Dubai in 1996, and she now lives in Toronto with her two cute, but sometimes annoying, cats.

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