Exiles of Eden
Poetry by Ladan Osman
May 7, 2019 • 6 x 9 • 96 pages • 978-1-56689-544-6
Poems steeped in the Somali tradition refract the streets of Ferguson, the halls of Guantánamo, and the fields near Abu Ghraib through the myth of Adam and Eve to ask: What does it mean to be a refugee?
Exiles of Eden looks at the origin story of Adam, Eve, and their exile from the Garden of Eden, exploring displacement and alienation from its mythological origins to the present. Steeped in Somali narrative tradition yet formally experimental, Osman’s poems give voice to the experiences and traumas of displaced people over multiple generations. The characters in these poems encounter exile’s strangeness while processing the profoundly isolating experience of knowing that once you are sent out of Eden, you can’t go back.
About the Author
Ladan Osman, Somali-born poet and essayist, is the author of The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (University of Nebraska Press 2015), winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize, and the chapbook Ordinary Heaven, which appeared in the box set Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press 2014).
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“Ladan Osman has an abundance of talent, and she is one of kind. There is informed wisdom to her poetry, which, on top of being moving, inspires the reader with positive thinking. A wonderful collection.” —Nuruddin Farah
Praise for Ladan Osman
“In a world that too often plugs its ears to voices it thinks unworthy, Osman shows that it’s actually more inappropriate to be decorous.” —Chicago Tribune
“True visionary poets are very rare. Ladan Osman is one. What she sees is extraordinary, and needful.” —Brigit Pegeen Kelly
“Osman is a worldly and acutely sensitive writer who knows how to reach right through the sequined veil of fashion and put her hand squarely on the reader’s heart, with frank and candid expression, with unaffected wonder.” —Ted Kooser
“Osman is a warrior poet, and she is dangerous because she is especially gifted and disciplined about her craft.” —Kwame Dawes