Book Launch: Nazar Boy by Tarik Dobbs with Su Hwang, torrin a greathouse, Douglas Kearney

Join Mizna to celebrate the launch of former Mizna guest editor Tarik Dobbs’s debut poetry collection, Nazar Boy (Haymarket Books). From Haymarket:

Tarik Dobbs’s work explores surveillance, queerness, disability, race, and working-class identity in post-9/11 America. As an Arab American writer, Dobbs is achingly familiar with the power dynamics, violence, and capitalistic undercurrents woven through the language of the colonizer. They challenge this power in visual, free-verse, and formally intense poems—both traditional and innovative—that stretch the elasticity of borders, verbs, images, redactions, and more. Ranging from sonnets to concrete poems, Nazar Boy is visually stimulating, thought-provoking, emotionally wrenching, and exquisitely crafted.

The lineup will include Twin Cities poets who are also critically-acclaimed legends: MPWW teaching artist Su Hwang, torrin a greathouse who was in Tarik’s MFA cohort, and Douglas Kearney who mentored Tarik’s thesis manuscript that became this book. Join us for this free, stimulating evening; copies of Nazar Boy will be available for purchase and signing.

Nazar Boy has received enormous praise from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Tretheway, and local legend Danez Smith:

"In their compelling debut Nazar Boy, Tarik Dobbs writes across and against the borders of race, class, ability, and sexual orientation—the checkpoints wherein the body is scrutinized, surveilled, and othered in ways meant to define and contain. This book demands a reckoning—both personal and national. In the precise mirror of these poems we find both the darkness and its necessary illumination, a way to confront ourselves.—Natasha Trethewey, author of The House of BeingNazar Boy (with its visual, lyrical, political, and spiritual ferocity) is one of the best debuts in recent memory. Do I mean spiritual? Yes, I feel the shape of my own soul when I read Tarik Dobbs’s work. From war and within war, with love and hammer, long hope and deep memory, Dobbs crafts a weapon of a book that will cut you deep and good. May this work ignite us towards freedom."—Danez Smith, author of Homie

This event is co-presented with the Minnesota Museum of American Art the City of Saint Paul Cultural Sales Tax Revitalization Program and, with support from the Academy of American Poets with support from the Mellon Foundation, is part of the Poetry Coalition’s slate of programs in the spring and summer that reflect the transformative impact poetry has on individual readers and communities across the nation.

Su Hwang is a Korean American poet and the author of Bodega (Milkweed Editions, 2019). The recipient of the 2020 Minnesota Book Award in poetry, the Jerome Hill Fellowship in Literature, and a finalist for the 2021 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, she works as a teaching artist with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and is the cofounder of Poetry Asylum.

torrin a. greathouse is the author of the collections DEED (Wesleyan University Press, 2024) and Wound from the Mouth of a Wound (Milkweed Editions, 2020)—winner of the Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry and the 2022 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. greathouse is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Effing Foundation for Sex-Positivity, and the Poetry Foundation. She teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop, which is the low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

Douglas Kearney is the author of nine books, including the poetry collections Imagine I Been Science Fiction Always (Wave Books, 2025); Optic Subwoof (Wave Books, 2022); Sho (Wave Books, 2021), a 2022 PEN/Voelcker Award, National Book Award, and Minnesota Book Award finalist; and Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), a Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize winner, a Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Firecracker awardee, and California Book Award silver medalist. In 2023, Kearney received the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism from the Poetry Foundation. He teaches at the University of Minnesota.

Tarik Dobbs (b.1997; Dearborn, MI) is a writer, an artist, and a Poetry Foundation Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow. Tarik’s poems appear in the Best New Poets and Best of the Net anthologies, as well as AGNI, American Poetry Review, and Poetry Magazine, among others. Tarik is director of poetry.onland served as a guest editor at Mizna as well as Zoeglossia: A Community for Poets with Disabilities. Tarik received an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Minnesota, and is currently an M.F.A. fellow in art, theory, practice at Northwestern University. Tarik’s debut poetry collections, Nazar Boy (June 11, 2024) and Dearbornistan (2026) are forthcoming from Haymarket Books.