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Look by Solmaz Sharif
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*Finalist for the 2017 PEN Open Book Award*
*Finalist for the 2016 National Book Award*

Solmaz Sharif's astonishing first book, Look, asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable loss of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family's and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed in America's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discrimination endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.

At the same time, these poems point to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout this collection are words and phrases lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; in their seamless inclusion, Sharif exposes the devastating euphemisms deployed to sterilize the language, control its effects, and sway our collective resolve. But Sharif refuses to accept this terminology as given, and instead turns it back on its perpetrators. "Let it matter what we call a thing," she writes. "Let me look at you."

Daily I sit
with the language
they've made

of our language

like you.

You are what is referred to as

--from "Personal Effects"

Graywolf Press; July 2016
ISBN 9781555979409
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Look
Author: Solmaz Sharif
  • News
Solmaz Sharif and the poetics of a new American generation - Los Angeles Times
Fri, 08 Jul 2016 07:01:56 -0700
Los Angeles TimesSolmaz Sharif and the poetics of a new American generationLos Angeles TimesMeanwhile, this month, Solmaz ...
Editors' Choice - New York Times
Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:20:55 -0700
New York TimesEditors' ChoiceNew York TimesNine new books recommended by the editors of The New York Times Book Review this ...
Poetry by Solmaz Sharif and Tess Taylor - SFGate
Sun, 07 Aug 2016 04:03:27 -0700
SFGatePoetry by Solmaz Sharif and Tess TaylorSFGateSharif's astonishing debut Look (Graywolf Press; $16) examines an ...
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