Poetry by Moheb Soliman
June 8, 2021 • 6 x 9 • 112 pages • 978-1-56689-609-2
Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior: HOMES. Moheb Soliman traces the coast of the Great Lakes with postmodern poems, exploring the natural world, the experience of belonging, and the formation of identity along borders.
Moheb Soliman’s HOMES maps the shoreline of the Great Lakes from the rocky North Shore of Minnesota to the Thousand Islands of eastern Ontario. This poetic travelogue offers an intimate perspective on an immigrant experience as Soliman drives his Corolla past exquisite vistas and abandoned mines, through tourist towns and midwestern suburbs, seeking to inhabit an entire region as home. Against the backdrop of environmental destruction and a history of colonial oppression, the vitality of Soliman’s language brings a bold ecopoetic lens to bear on the relationship between transience and belonging in the world’s largest, most porous borderland.
About the Author
Moheb Soliman is an interdisciplinary poet from Egypt and the Midwest. He has presented writing, performance, installation, and video work at diverse literary, art, and public spaces in the US and Canada with support from the Banff Centre, Pillsbury House, the Joyce Foundation, and Tulsa Artist Fellowship. Moheb has degrees from The New School and the University of Toronto and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was the program director for the Arab American literary journal and arts organization Mizna.
Praise for HOMES
Finalist for the 2022 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry
Finalist for the 2021 Heartland Booksellers Award for Poetry
Finalist for the 2021 Big Other Book Award for Poetry
Chicago Tribune, “10 Books to Read This Summer”
Ecotone, “Most Anticipated Spring Books”
“In a time of environmental catastrophe and colonial destruction, Soliman's sly and shifting poems suggest that moving between various homes makes more sense than trying to construct a static place of complete belongingness.” —Elizabeth Hoover, Star Tribune
“Phrases are broken apart, and often, beautiful and evocative double readings are created. . . . There’s an understanding that connecting dots between ideas, words, or sounds on a page is much like charting a course on a map—there’s usually more than one way to get somewhere, and our attention is masterfully directed.” —Will Russo, Great Lakes Review
“Moheb Soliman’s HOMES is a fascinating study in the differences between place and destiny—‘It was a port that sank,’ he writes, ‘not a freighter.’ Through the collection we visit places to travel, places to live, places to escape. Other times, it’s a vacancy we’re visiting. ‘You do not arrive,’ one poem states, ‘The place arrives.’ Such vertiginous wandering at once illuminates and troubles the eponymous idea of home. Soliman’s wild, expansive leaping—geographic and psychic—is worth the price of admission alone; the rush of it, the verve. But ultimately what excites me most about this collection is its affirmation that for some of us, there is only one place, one home: the one inside our own mind.” —Kaveh Akbar
“Hummingbird cakes, trumpets. HOMES is a border-crossing, rivering lake escape with exhilarating contemplations and investigations in Great Lakes worlds. The intellectual shape of the work is steeped in borderlands, waters (rivers have mouths, lakes have bodies), branches of endemic life and peopled descendancies. The physical read is choreographed in visual formations with caesura streams pooling, stilling sound and harboring leaps to slashed out to punctuate fractals. Madeline Island, Thunder Bay, Lake Champlain, Molson, Sleeman beer. Rich with mollusks, with diasporic mollusky sand. With lakes and lakes that swallow lakes. With wild road and brimming river voyaging, up alongside otters, ice, massive tankers, while wolfing white doughnuts down—these poems bring us malleable leads from othering crises, give us passage and dream world solution. This is a scintillating, scorching read of seeing, knowing, passing through, and homing, where Moheb Soliman casts the good spell, and we are bound to it.” —Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
“HOMES is a meditation on, and a prayer for, the natural world through the body of the Great Lakes. With remarkable infiltrative urban imagination, Moheb Soliman is the echo of what can’t be unseen: the domineering, wild life of humans over wildlife. Between a pea and a peacock, recreation and re-creation, in a nuclear canoe toward a lakefront suite, this is the Anthropocene: ‘To be the one the world speaks for / Without first having to be endangered / I am the recycling and the garbage.’ This spectacular book is as inventive and daring as it is tender and piercing—in syncopated lyric like a genetic sequence, a spliced analog for elegy.” —Fady Joudah