The War Works Hard
Shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize 2006
Winner of a PEN Translation Fund Award 2004
“Yesterday I lost a country,” Dunya Mikhail writes in The War Works Hard, a subversive, sobering work by an exiled Iraqi poet, and her first collection to appear in English. Amidst the ongoing atrocities in Iraq, after decades of wars and hundreds of thousands of deaths, here is an important new voice that rescues the human spirit from the ruins. Embracing literary traditions from ancient Mesopotamian mythology to Biblical and Koranic parables, and to Western modernism, Mikhail’s poetic vision transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries with liberating compassion.
‘Dunya Mikhail is a woman who speaks like the disillusioned goddesses of Babylon. Blunt as well as subtle, she makes of war a distinct entity, thus turning it into a myth. To her own question, ‘What does it mean to die all this death?,’ her poems answer that it means to reveal the only redeeming power that we have: the existence of love.’
– Etel Adnan