Winner of the American Book Award
Somewhere Else, rooted in the traditions of the Coptic community, widens the political conversation surrounding ethnicity, pan-Africanism, and pan-Arabism. From the teeming streets of Cairo to the urban United States, from Egypt’s indigenous, pre-Islamic Coptic society to an America struggling with its fear of the Arab world, Shenoda’s collection spans generational and cultural divides. In poems both personal and political, he celebrates his Coptic heritage, riffs on jazz and hip-hop, and offers a nuanced and energized perspective virtually unknown in the West.
-Coffee House Press
"I turn the corner of this honor-driven book, find memory beneath our doors, taste the blessings of his midwifery, his miracle songs giving birth to un-ghosted rooms..."
– Sonia Sanchez, from the Introduction
"Matthew Shenoda's Somewhere Else is today's poetry--filled with the immediacy of contemporary concerns of the diasporic identity…the words of a felt wisdom of cross-cultural and cross-generational dialogue are liberally strewn throughout this volume."
– African American Review
“These papyrus-dipped poems launch the Eastern desert into the ‘Forever-West’ where we all dwell. Listen to Shenoda’s ‘giraffe tongue’ unwind—incantations reclaiming the Coptic earth and its peoples, stories and sufferings, a grandmother and grandfather’s lessons of war, death, rebirth, love and peace. This book holds the keys to our present global predicament— each word is a star in our night.”
—Juan Felipe Herrera
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