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SOLMAZ SHARIF reads from her new book of poetry LOOK

Look (Graywolf Press)

In her astonishing first book, Look, Solmaz Sharif asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable losses of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family’s and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed, in America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discriminations endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.

At the same time, these poems point to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout this collection are words and phrases from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; in their seamless inclusion, Sharif exposes the devastating euphemisms deployed to sterilize the language, control its effects, and sway our collective resolve. Refusing to accept this terminology as given, Sharif instead turns it back on its perpetrators. “Let it matter what we call a thing,” she writes. “Let me look at you.”

Praise for Look

“Solmaz Sharif’s Look is something great. She throws us a brilliant, even perfect, book of poems sadly central to the nightmare of today.”—Eileen Myles

“By unearthing, decoding, and reconstructing half-hidden symbols of power built into nomenclature as well as everyday expression, the poet serves truth—sometimes delicately, other times brutally. . . . Each phrase pulls the reader into a system of being, personal and historical, and Look, line by line, extends toward prophecy and ('I am singing to her still') harmony.” —Yusef Komunyakaa

“Solmaz Sharif's beautiful and important poems patrol the boundaries and limits of language. . . . I can’t remember a more distinguished debut.”—Eavan Boland

“I haven’t been as excited about a first book of poetry for a long time as I am about Solmaz Sharif’s forthcoming Look. . . . This feels like an important book, not just a good one.”—David Baker

Solmaz Sharif has published poetry in the New Republic and Poetry, and has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

Photo by Arash Saedinia

Event date: 
Thursday, July 7, 2016 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Look: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977443
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - July 5th, 2016