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In Her Feminine Sign by Dunya Mikhail
PBS Autumn Wild Card 2019

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At the heart of In Her Feminine Sign, Dunya Mikhail’s luminous new collection of poems, is the Arabic suffix taamarbuta, ‘the tied circle’ – a circle with two dots above it that indicates a feminine word, or sign. This tied circle transforms into the moon, a stone that binds friendship, birdsong over ruins, and a hymn to Nisaba, the goddess of writing. With a deceptive simplicity and disquieting humour reminiscent of Wisława Szymborska, and a lyricism wholly her own, Mikhail slips between her childhood in Baghdad and her present life in Detroit, between Ground Zero and a mass grave, tracing new circles of light.

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