Forest of Noise: Poems (Hardcover)

Forest of Noise: Poems By Mosab Abu Toha Cover Image
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"A powerful, capacious, and profound" (Ocean Vuong) new collection of poems about life in Gaza by an award-winning Palestinian poet.

Barely thirty years old, Mosab Abu Toha was already a well-known poet when the current siege of Gaza began. After the Israeli army bombed and destroyed his house, pulverizing a library he had painstakingly built for community use, he and his family fled for their safety. Not for the first time in their lives.  

Somehow, amid the chaos, Abu Toha kept writing poems. These are those poems. Uncannily clear, direct, and beautifully tuned, they form one of the most astonishing works of art wrested from wartime. Here are directives for what to do in an air raid; here are lyrics about the poet’s wife, singing to his children to distract them. Huddled in the dark, Abu Toha remembers his grandfather’s oranges, his daughter’s joy in eating them. 

Moving between glimpses of life in relative peacetime and absurdist poems about surviving in a barely livable occupation, Forest of Noise invites a wide audience into an experience that defies the imagination—even as it is watched live. Abu Toha's poems introduce readers to his extended family, some of them no longer with us. This is an urgent, extraordinary, and arrestingly whimsical book. Searing and beautiful, it brings us indelible art in a time of terrible suffering.

About the Author

MOSAB ABU TOHA is a Palestinian poet, short-story writer, and essayist from Gaza. His first collection of poetry, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and won the Palestine Book Award, the American Book Award, and the Walcott Poetry Prize. Abu Toha is also the founder of the Edward Said Library in Gaza, which he hopes to rebuild. He recently won an Overseas Press Club Award for his “Letter from Gaza” columns for The New Yorker.

Praise For…

"A powerful, capacious, and profound book, rich in intelligence and lyric dexterity that fuses poetry's two great promises, wonder and testament, into crystalline focus."—Ocean Vuong, author of Time Is a Mother and On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

"The poems in Mosab Abu Toha's Forest of Noise are urgent, prayerful howls in the bleakest of nights. Necessary, and wrought out of both terror and truth, these poems sing and weep in a rough and haunting harmony. Abu Toha's work begs the reader to pay close attention as each poetic line is, at its heart, a lifeline to survival."—Ada Limón, US Poet Laureate, author of The Hurting Kind

"Mosab Abu Toha carries a vast library in his heart. His books hold the names of people and places covered in drones and rubble. His books hold letters, odes, reports, and elegies; generations of gardens and graves. Abu Toha opens his library to us in Forest of Noise. His poems resonate with undeniable immediacy upon a first reading and continue ringing more and more urgently with every subsequent reading. Abu Toha writes with a brilliance that makes anyone who encounters these astonishing poems both witness and kin."—Terrance Hayes, author of So to Speak

"Heartbreaking, evocative, transformative poetry of witness to the horror of warfare. It happens in real time, as we turn pages. This is powerful, impactful poetry, a book you won’t soon forget. Forgetting is not an option. Buy two copies. One for yourself. Another for any soldier you might meet in the street."—llya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

"In Forest of Noise, his astonishing second book, Mosab Abu Toha is the essential poet embodying the humanity of Gaza, the precious hopes and dreams of all humans, the searing collective cries of children, the indelible honest conscience, the heart and soul. Miraculously he has continued speaking and writing through the horrific genocide of his people and beloved place. His elemental poems dissolve the empty rhetoric and posturing with simple, striking truth. Not blows. Who else among us founds a library in our early twenties? Today Mosab's books may be crushed, but his most powerful spirit is not."—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of The Tiny Journalist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593803974
ISBN-10: 0593803973
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: October 29th, 2024
Pages: 96
Language: English