Audre Lorde’s use of the word “deliberate” suggests intention–– these poems are not aimless in their fearlessness. They are poems that approach these particular issues through anger, through grief, through joy, through love & through loss. In light of spring 2020’s period of lockdown and isolation, we hope that these poems spark not only awareness, but also a sense of community, solidarity, & courage during difficult times. As Jess Rizkallah writes: “i was an animal in the heat / i was better than any son. / i could have easily escaped / but for once i wanted / to win.” -- read the rest @ the margins

"...she grants readers the permission to excavate their own lives and to be their own historians. She gives readers permission to become deeply enchanted with the small pieces of their lives, like the sight of the moon out their window or the food their mother has taught them to make. Her poems function much like a secret guide on learning about the universe of yourself." read the rest @ elite daily

She writes in a deft and visceral style that leaves the reader wanting more of her sharp, emotive words. Her skill is in weaving throughout the intensely personal and the grander notions of her own identity. Rizkallah’s voice is essential to the times in which we are living and should be read by anyone with an interest in the beauty and complexity of identity.-" read the rest @ osu.edu

"Crafting Poetry from the Heart... A Lebanese-American, Jess draws inspiration from her Arab heritage and identity, which infuses her poetry and illustrations with unique color--" read the rest @ lesley.edu

"There are always critical lenses on the body, but writing about it must be a way to reclaim the body. We’re not our bodies, but they’re grafted into our self-perceptions, so we might as well rewrite what we’ve been taught to hate into whatever we need it to be — a weapon, a landscape, something supernatural. For some Arab/Middle-Eastern women, there are more consequences for resistance, since you’re carrying your history on your back, too. But viewing your body however you choose is revolutionary, too. I think the centrality of the body in many meditations of Arab/Middle-Eastern women owes to the fact that both ancestry and patriarchy lay claim to it. Being an Arab/Middle-Eastern woman means you’re told more explicitly that your body doesn’t belong to you. If you talk about this in mixed company, your people tell you that you’re only giving ammunition to American racists who want to ignore what their culture does more seamlessly." read the rest of this conversation with Carol N. Faddalareviewofbooks.org

Text & Illustrations © 2020 Jess Rizkallah 

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