Hello Iraq! Your poetry is beautiful, fyi. In case you didn’t already know 5d460ed78992a28f0ea9d7a6b7841f91

For Iraq, I read The Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail (translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid).

And guys. It was awesome.

This was a very slim volume – only 83 pages – so it was a pretty quick read. Glossing over the fact that the cover is GORGEOUS, Mikhail’s poetry is quietly powerful. There are several poems that are accompanied by her handwritten Arabic version of the poem, like this one:


A lot of her poetry centers on the goddess Ishtar, the ancient Sumerian goddess of sex and war – which of course just makes everything more interesting.



I thought I would pick a favorite poem from this book and share it on this post, but I couldn’t decide which one to pick! So I’ll just leave you with Mikhail’s ending lines:

“You open your arms
and I know just how much I love you:
I love you from here to Baghdad;
I love you more than all the words;
I love you higher
than the smoke in the city;
I love you louder than the explosions;
I love you deeper than the wounds,
Iraqi and American,
from an IED,
I love you sweeter than a lily
unfolding in the morning;
I love you warmer than a nest
that lacks only birdsong
and a single piece of straw;
I love you wider than the fear
coming and going
from here to Baghdad
I love you.”

Larsa, The Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail