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Inhale/Exile by Abeer Ameer

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Inhale/Exile is the debut poetry collection by Abeer Ameer, a rising poet of Iraqi heritage, who lives in Cardiff, Wales. Inspired by the many stories she heard as a child and visiting family in Iraq as an adult, Ameer has written a book that celebrates the resilience of her forebears and extended family in Baghdad and around the world. The book presents a range of characters in a mixture of political and personal poems; ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances. Formally diverse, using both traditional and experimental methods, these poems are also full of empathy and suffused with a quietly persistent faith. 

“This remarkable debut offers us a treasure-chest of 50 stories that lift the wraps from the personal and the public, the domestic and the political, revealing a hoard of complex tales, deftly, powerfully told. Abeer Ameer’s poems weave a series of mesmerising journeys back and forth between Iraq and the UK, exploring the interstices and convergences between cultures, between atrocity and hope, faith and dogma, language, silence and love. Ameer tells it bluntly, sometimes wryly, but with surgical precision and composure: each poem vibrant with the smells, tastes, textures, muscles and heartbeat of authentic experience, ‘in the search for home between two rivers’.”  – Robert Walton

“This debut collection by Abeer Ameer is a moving, impassioned exploration of human resilience in the face of political upheaval, state persecution, the violence of war and the pain of exile. Intimate and personal, rooted in history that is at once ancient and contemporary, individual and international, these poems remind us that even in the darkest times, there is light, and there is love. Inhale/Exile insists that the reader doesn’t turn away from suffering, like the photographer who must ‘share what the world needs to see’, and in return we learn the stories of lives lost and lives saved, witness tremendous acts of courage, and understand how faith ensures survival.” ­– Katherine Stansfield



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