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Un-American

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Dancing between lyric and narrative, Hafizah Geter's debut collection moves readers through the fraught internal and external landscapes―linguistic, cultural, racial, familial―of those whose lives are shaped and transformed by immigration. The daughter of a Nigerian Muslim woman and a former Southern Baptist black man, Geter charts the history of a black family of mixed ci Dancing between lyric and narrative, Hafizah Geter's debut collection moves readers through the fraught internal and external landscapes―linguistic, cultural, racial, familial―of those whose lives are shaped and transformed by immigration. The daughter of a Nigerian Muslim woman and a former Southern Baptist black man, Geter charts the history of a black family of mixed citizenships through poems imbued by migration, racism, queerness, loss, and the heartbreak of trying to feel at home in a country that does not recognize you. Through her mother's death and her father's illnesses, Geter weaves the natural world into the discourse of grief, human interactions, and socio-political discord. This collection thrums with authenticity and heart.


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Dancing between lyric and narrative, Hafizah Geter's debut collection moves readers through the fraught internal and external landscapes―linguistic, cultural, racial, familial―of those whose lives are shaped and transformed by immigration. The daughter of a Nigerian Muslim woman and a former Southern Baptist black man, Geter charts the history of a black family of mixed ci Dancing between lyric and narrative, Hafizah Geter's debut collection moves readers through the fraught internal and external landscapes―linguistic, cultural, racial, familial―of those whose lives are shaped and transformed by immigration. The daughter of a Nigerian Muslim woman and a former Southern Baptist black man, Geter charts the history of a black family of mixed citizenships through poems imbued by migration, racism, queerness, loss, and the heartbreak of trying to feel at home in a country that does not recognize you. Through her mother's death and her father's illnesses, Geter weaves the natural world into the discourse of grief, human interactions, and socio-political discord. This collection thrums with authenticity and heart.

30 review for Un-American

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roxane

    Outstanding poetry from beginning to end. The testimonies are particularly affecting but really every single poem offers something moving or incisive or devastating. There is real intelligence and grace in this work.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    In Hafizah Geter’s debut poetry collection she discusses what it means to be “un-American” not fully belonging in the country you left or the country your parents immigrated to– an experience that many of us can relate to. She explores mother-daughter relationships, illness, familial separation, and how these things can be exacerbated in America by xenophobia and racism. Her poems jumped between her experiences navigating African culture (her mom is a Nigerian Muslim woman) and African-American In Hafizah Geter’s debut poetry collection she discusses what it means to be “un-American” not fully belonging in the country you left or the country your parents immigrated to– an experience that many of us can relate to. She explores mother-daughter relationships, illness, familial separation, and how these things can be exacerbated in America by xenophobia and racism. Her poems jumped between her experiences navigating African culture (her mom is a Nigerian Muslim woman) and African-American culture (her dad is a Black man that was raised in the South), but it didn’t feel disjointed. I loved so many things about this poetry collection, but her series of poems entitled: “Testimony” (each poem separately recounting the murders of Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown), broke my heart. The book itself is a quick read, but her poems command such power. An exquisite collection. Fun fact: the cover is a rendering of a photo of her pregnant mother, who immigrated to America. It was painted by her father who is a painter & Art professor. I loved this quote: “together, my parents raised me on both sides of the hyphen of African-American. They raised me to be a witness, which is to be forever skeptical of the project called America.” Also, her piece: “Giving up the Ghost” in the Yale Review is a heart wrenching essay that I loved– it came out earlier this summer. I didn’t connect the two until after I finished reading “Un-American,” but I’d also highly recommend that essay! CW: Sexual Assault

  3. 5 out of 5

    Spencer

    hands down the best collection of poems I've read all year.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Devastating.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

    A really excellent book of poetry about family, about those dead at the hands of police, about life in Nigeria, in South Carolina, about immigration, about being black. Powerful and heart-felt poems. I am so glad I read this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Powerful and moving, especially the testimonies.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashtar Boulos

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jamison Standridge

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Allison

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steph

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lota

  15. 4 out of 5

    Isabel Bozada-Jones

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Melnick

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marco Rafalà

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alli Cadle

  19. 5 out of 5

    J.J.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steni

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maggie & Marie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Philippa Mooney

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Knopf

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mahssa Mostajabi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megumi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

  30. 5 out of 5

    MS

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