Harvard Book Store is thrilled to welcome poets MELISSA LOZADA-OLIVA and JESS RIZKALLAH for a reading and discussion of their books, peluda and the magic my body becomes: Poems.
One of the most original performance poets of her generation, Melissa Lozada-Oliva has captivated crowds across the country and online with her vivid narratives. Humorous and biting, personal and communal, self-deprecating and unapologetically self-loving, peluda (meaning “hairy” or “hairy beast”) is the poet at her best.
The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice; peluda is a powerful testimony on body image and the triumph over taboo.
About the magic my body becomes
In exploring family history, civil war, trauma, and Lebanon itself, Rizkallah draws from the spirits of canonical Arab and Middle Eastern poets, and the reader feels these spirits exorcising the grief of those who are still alive. Throughout, there is the body, a reclamation and pushback against cultures that simultaneously sexualize and shame women. And there is a softness as inherent as rage, a resisting of stereotypes that too often speak louder than the complexities of a colonized, yet resilient, cultural identity.
Rizkallah’s the magic my body becomes is an exciting new book from an exciting young poet, a love letter to a people as well as a fist in the air. It is the first book in the Etel Adnan Poetry Series, publishing first or second books of poetry in English by writers of Arab heritage.The voice here freely asserts gender, sexuality, and religious beliefs, while at the same time it respects a generational divide: the younger’s privilege gained by the sacrifice of the older, the impossibility of separating what is wholly hers from what is hers second-hand.
This event is free and open to the public.