Poems and Texts

Excerpt from The Paper Camera by Youmna Chlala

They still purge the city of poets. It’s an ancient game
extracted like the good leaves, the ones you eat first.

We find ourselves again at this juncture, language
a utilitarian artifice, artificial, arc-en-ciel, feu d’artifice

Glued to an image
conjecture, color, perspective, topology, anatomy

Glued to a body
Wool. Gum. Gun. Wire.

We wonder, can they really be after us?
the universe, not expanding but stretching

© Youmna Chlala, from The Paper Camera (Litmus Press, 2019)

Youmna Chlala

Youmna Chlala is an artist and a writer born in Beirut based in New York. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Paper Camera (Litmus Press, 2019). She is the recipient of a 2018 O. Henry Award, a Joseph Henry Jackson Award and the Founding Editor of Eleven Eleven {1111} Journal of Literature and Art. Her writing appears in BOMB, Guernica, Prairie Schooner, Bespoke, Aster(ix), CURA and MIT Journal for Middle Eastern Studies. She has exhibited at the Hayward Gallery, The Drawing Center, Art In General, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Dubai Art Projects, Hessel Museum of Art, and MAK Center for Art and Architecture. She participated in the 33rd Bienal de Sao Paulo, 2017 LIAF Biennial in Norway and the 11th Performa Biennial. She is co-editing a new series for Coffee House Press entitled Spatial Species (2021). She is a Professor in Humanities and Media Studies and Writing at the Pratt Institute.

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