Marilyn Hacker
2023 |

A formally brilliant and powerful volume from “one of the most extraordinary innovative poets writing today” (Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times). Moving from Paris to Beirut and back, Calligraphies is a tribute to exiles and refugees, the known and unknown, dead and living, from the American poet Marie Ponsot to the Syrian pasionaria Fadwa Suleiman. Award-winning poet Marilyn Hacker finds resistance, wit, potential, and gleaming connection in everyday moments—a lunch of “standing near the fridge with / labneh, two verbs, and a spoon”—as a counterweight to the precarity of existence. In a variety of tones and formal registers, from vivid crowns of sonnets to insistent ghazals to riffs on the renga, Calligraphies explores a world opened up by language. From “Listen” I write stories, but the language hasn’t claimed me, And it won’t, until I learn to listen.

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