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Flawed Landscape
Poems 1987-2008
Sharif S. Elmusa

published 2009 • 6” x 9” • 71 pages
ISBN 9781566567343 • paperback • $15.00

"Flawed Landscape is an extraordinary book that verges between the grief of being displaced and the joy of being alive. Elmusa speaks with the anger of the aggrieved, but also with tenderness and understanding for those he left behind and those he meets along the way. Elmusa is a true poet, a yearner for a better life and for the constancy of time."
-Pablo Medina, poet, author of Points of Balance/Puntos de apoyo

"Sharif Elmusa writes with exquisite energy and empathy, and has, for decades, been one of my favorite poets. His work is original and necessary. Celebrate this stunning collection!"
-Naomi Shihab Nye, writer and anthologist

"These are an exile's poems, marked by loss but offered with a generous spirit. Through them, the landscape transforms-revealing, through Elmusa's vision, its difficult beauty. This is not grounds for despair, then. But ground to work from. That is hope, indeed."
-Melanie Carter, poet

Sharif Elmusa is a widely published poet, scholar, and translator. He co-edited, and contributed to, the anthology, Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry (Interlink Books). This anthology today is recognized by critics as a landmark publication of Arab-American poetry and as having established this poetry's contemporary cannon.

Elmusa has contributed poems to a good number of periodicals, including Poetry East, New Letters, The Christian Science Monitor, Paintbrush, Banipal,, The Baltimore Review, as well as to several anthologies published by major university presses. He was a featured poet in the July, 2000 issue of Ruah (California). A View from the Loft (Minnesota) re-printed three of his poems in August, 2001. His work has been the subject of critical attention, including in Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics (No 20, 2000).

Elmusa produced extensive translation of Arabic poetry. His translations and co-translations have been published in several major anthologies, issued by university presses. He has written for, and been interviewed, by major newspapers and magazines in the US and the Middle East. He is editor of, Culture and the Natural Environment: Ancient and Modern Middle Eastern Texts, which includes his own article, "The Ax of Gilgamesh: Splitting Nature and Culture." He is an occasional contributor of articles on politics and culture for the Egyptian English-language newspaper, Al-Ahram Weekly.

Elmusa is currently an associate professor of Political Science at the American University in Cairo. He served for four years as director of the Middle East Studies Program. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Cairo University and doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Palestinian by birth, American by citizenship.

Click here to read a sample poem from this collection. 

Media Reviews
“A lot can change in a person over twenty one years. 'Flawed Landscape: Poems 1987-2008' is award nominated poet Sharif S. Elmusa's solo anthology of poetry. Focusing on the themes of war, family, and exile, his work is powerful and moving, making ‘Flawed Landscape’ a vivid portrait of a man's life through poetry. ‘The Two Angels’: Among the things mother told me as a child://Every person has two angels//standing on his shoulders./And they weigh every deed./On the right, Nakir, /for the good deeds;/for the bad, Nakeer, on the left.//That is why my gait is tilted now/and as the years pass--/ my back will grow hunched.// Such nakedness!”
—Midwest Book Review

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Of Related Interest:
Lives of Rain, The
Grape Leaves
Neverfield, The
Kahlil Gibran
Literature and War
Mahmoud Darwish, Exile's Poet
We Begin Here