National Poetry Month Celebration: Hasan Namir

Our National Poetry Month Celebration continues with ‘Khusrah’, a poem from War/Torn by Hasan Namir.

War/Torn, is a brazen and lyrical interrogation of religion and masculinity. Award-winning poet Jordan Scott calls the collection “a breathless elegy in the most defiantly tender poetics you can imagine.”

Signal Alert: War/Torn, which was named an Honor Book for the 2020 Stonewall Book Awards–Barbara Gittings Literature Award, was released exactly one year ago today on April 10, 2019. To celebate the anniversary of his poetic debut, Hasan will read from the book on FB Live on Sunday, April 19, at 7pm EST/4 pm PST. For more information visit the FB event page here.

Remember to follow along all month as we celebrate our poets by sharing a poem each day on the Book*hug Blog. Follow us as well on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

And now, onto today’s poem. Click on the video to watch Hasan read ‘Khusrah’ and follow along with the text below.

KHUSRAH

[Through a fractured window
I am overwhelmed by the revolt.
Close the window.]

[This is my mother war-stricken and restless,
carrying a photo album in her hand.]

[A book of coloured spaces,
I look through these photos,
forced to choose. I let out a sigh
over the flag gagging the pole.]

[Mama, you knew.
Help me, son, I want to see your kids.
She poses like a wax mannequin,
stunned near the radiator.]

[Through her eyes I am consumed
by years of family history.
I am about to claw the roots
of the olive tree.
I am now a Khusrah.]

Iraqi-Canadian author Hasan Namir graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in English and received the Ying Chen Creative Writing Student Award. He is the author of God in Pink (2015), which won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Fiction and was chosen as one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by The Globe and Mail. His work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Shaw TV, Airbnb, and in the film God in Pink: A Documentary. He was recently named a writer to watch by CBC books.  Hasan lives in Vancouver with his husband and their infant son. Namir will publish a children’s book in Fall 2020 (Arsenal Pulp Press) and Book*hug Press will release his next poetry collection, Umbilicial Cord, in 2022.