This event will be held at our 1231 9th Ave location in the Inner Sunset.
Join us on Wednesday, January 17 at 7pm PT for the release of Sarah Ghazal Ali's Theophanies with Zeina Hashem Beck at 9th Ave!
Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online/Livestream link available soon
"Ali's is one of the most sure-footed debuts I've had the pleasure to encounter in many years. Wrought with precision, control, and an astute humility before the wondrous, the profound and profane, these poems feel crafted from the sum total of history, then realized at the crest of the poet's matrix of experiences. A truly fearless and tender gem of a collection." —Ocean Vuong, author of Night Sky with Exit Wounds
Moving between the scriptures of the Qur’an and the Bible, these poems explore the complexities and spectacles of gender, faith, and family by unraveling the age-old idea that seeing is believing. Navigating both scripture and culture, the poems in Theophanies work to spin miracles from the mundanities of desire and violence. Through art and music, Pakistani history, and scriptural stories, these poems struggle to envision a true self and speak back against time to the matriarchs of the larger Abrahamic faiths, the mothers at the heart of sacred history Stitched through these poems is longing—for mothers, angels, and signs from the divine. Theophanies asks: is seeing really believing, and is believing belonging? The speaker seeks to understand her own, bewildering “I,” to use it with reverence, and to mythologize herself and all mothers to ensure their survival in a male-dominated world hard at work erasing them In the absence of matrilineal elders in her family, the speaker turns to the archetypal “mother of nations” for whom she is named, Sarah, and her sent-away “sister,” Hajar. What does it mean to have a woman’s body when that body has been hailed a vessel for the divine? Theophanies arises from the speaker’s tenuous grip on her own faith while navigating the colonial legacy of Partition and inherited patriarchal expectations of womanhood.
About Sarah Ghazal Ali
Sarah Ghazal Ali is the author of Theophanies (Alice James Books, 2024), selected as Editors’ Choice for the 2022 Alice James Award. A Djanikian Scholar, her poems and essays appear in POETRY, American Poetry Review, Pleiades, the Rumpus, Haydens Ferry Review, Best New Poets 2022, and elsewhere. She is the editor-in-chief of Palette Poetry, poetry editor for West Branch, and a ’22-23 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University. Learn more at sarahgali.com.
About Zeina Hashem Beck
Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet and the author of two previous full-length collections of poetry: Louder than Hearts (Bauhan Publishing, 2017) and To Live in Autumn (The Backwaters Press, 2014), as well as two chapbooks: 3arabi Song (Rattle, 2016) and There Was and How Much There Was (smithdoorstop, 2016). Educated in Arabic, English, and French, Zeina has a BA and an MA in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. Her poem “Maqam” won Poetry’s 2017 Frederick Bock Prize, and her work appeared in The New York Times, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. Zeina is the co-creator and co-host, with poet Farah Chamma, of Maqsouda, a podcast about Arabic poetry produced by Sowt. After a lifetime in Lebanon and a decade in Dubai, Zeina recently moved to California with her husband and two daughters.
This venue is located on ground level, with no stairs between the entrance and the event space.
Moving between the scriptures of the Qur'an and the Bible, these poems explore the complexities and spectacles of gender, faith, and family by unraveling the age-old idea that seeing is believing. Navigating both scripture and culture, the poems in Theophanies work to spin miracles from the mundanities of desire and violence.
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2022 BY LIT HUB AND THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
“O is so full of music and passion for life . . . Zeina Hashem Beck’s poems unfold the abundance of our world.” —Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic