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BookBrowse Reviews The Moon That Turns You Back by Hala Alyan

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The Moon That Turns You Back

Poems

by Hala Alyan

The Moon That Turns You Back by Hala Alyan X
The Moon That Turns You Back by Hala Alyan
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  • Paperback:
    Mar 2024, 112 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Hala Alyan's beautiful fifth poetry collection, set between Manhattan and war-torn parts of the Middle East, reckons with the loss of pregnancies, relatives, and a homeland.

The poignant, accessible poems in Palestinian American author Hala Alyan's fifth collection, The Moon That Turns You Back, emerge from a family history of Arab diaspora. Simultaneously tied to and cast out from various war-torn nations of the Middle East, generations of her family have been exiles. The poet describes her father as "unreturnable / one passport short of country / one country short of citizen."

Displacement and migration lead to a sense of being caught between nations, especially wrenching for Palestinians, whose homeland has been under Israeli occupation since 1967: "my country is a ghost," Alyan writes. In "When they Say Pledge Allegiance, I Say," she gives a potted history of Palestine from its creation in 1948 to its ongoing existence as stolen land. One of her frequent rhetorical techniques is anaphora (repetition of the same phrase at the start of multiple lines), ...

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