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March 2015
88 pages  

6.125 x 7.625
9780822963325
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The Republics
Handal, Nathalie
Winner, 2016 George Ellenbogen Poetry Award from the Arab American National Museum

The Republics is a massively brilliant new work, a leap in literature we have not seen. It’s gripping, harrowing, and at times horrific while its form paradoxically is fresh, luscious, and original. Bypassing pity and transforming pain into language Handal stars. She has recorded like Alice Walker, Paul Celan, John Hershey, and Carolyn Forché some of the worst civilization has offered humankind and somehow made it art.”—Sapphire

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Nathalie Handal is the author of Poet in Andalucía, Love and Strange Horses, a Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award winner, and is coeditor of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond. She is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, recipient of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, and an Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She teaches at Columbia University and is the editor of “The City and the Writer” for Words without Borders magazine.
“Playwright, editor, and poet Handal's fifth collection of poetry balances what she calls ‘flash reportages’ with vivid lyric and image. Built out of a patchwork of powerful blocks of monologue or narrative, and threaded with Spanish and Haitian Creole, the book's texture parallels those of ‘a multicolored coat,’ ‘a mirror of unfinished voices,’ and ‘a scarf tangled in sepia.’ . . . The poems spring forth with a spontaneity and urgency that counterbalance the restrained flourishes of her previous work. Handal watches and waits to ‘catch what aches in beauty,’ telling stories of Haitians and Dominicans with searing honesty. . . . Handal artfully captures the desire, the rawness of life, and the ‘misery that burns the soul’ of the people she encounters.”—Publishers Weekly

“The Republics is a startling piece of work. It’s tight and lyrical and surprising and, when it needs to be, heartbreaking. Nathalie Handal’s signature comes through loud and clear. It’s one of the most inventive books I’ve read by one of today’s most diverse writers.”—Patricia Smith

“These ‘flash reportages’ by Nathalie Handal offer us new ways to think about both poetry and journalistic documentation. A dialogue of observers as they share a voice for the space of the poem. I love how it is the constant questioning that seems to hold the narratives together. Entrancing.”—Noam Scheindlin, in Warscapes

“Handal’s ethical-political consciousness suffuses every poem, although she rarely speaks directly from her own perspective as a native-born Haitian, preferring instead to amplify voices of those living in Hispaniola, as they speak of histories, traumas, and of Haiti’s devastation by the 2010 earthquake. They speak, too, of their survival. . . . Inside a masterful poetics, Handal’s ethical consciousness directs our gaze toward suffering and yet ‘holds fast to the possibility of that which is better.’ “--World Literature Today

“Particularly inventive, as Handal uses a variety of monologues, narrative or prose poetry, and ‘flash fiction’ to explore questions of home and personal relationships, while also considering (or reconsidering) her relationship to the island where she was born.”—Women’s Review of Books

“Nathalie Handal is a singular creature: An international nomad whose work explores the innermost quadrants of the self and has a genius for letting all voices, however discordant, be heard. This is poetry of the most original and rigorous kind.”—Lorraine Adams

The Republics is a massively brilliant new work, a leap in literature we have not seen. It’s gripping, harrowing, and at times horrific while its form paradoxically is fresh, luscious, and original. Bypassing pity and transforming pain into language Handal stars. She has recorded like Alice Walker, Paul Celan, John Hershey, and Carolyn Forché some of the worst civilization has offered humankind and somehow made it art.”—Sapphire

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The Republics is a massively brilliant new work, a leap in literature we have not seen. It’s gripping, harrowing, and at times horrific while its form paradoxically is fresh, luscious, and original. Bypassing pity and transforming pain into language Handal stars. She has recorded like Alice Walker, Paul Celan, John Hershey, and Carolyn Forché some of the worst civilization has offered humankind and somehow made it art.”—Sapphire
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