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Hard Damage

Hard Damage

Hard Damage works to relentlessly interrogate the self and its shortcomings. In lyric and documentary poems and essayistic fragments, Aria Aber explores the historical and personal implications of Afghan American relations.

Drawing on material dating back to the 1950s, she considers the consequences of these relations—in particular the funding of the Afghan mujahedeen, which led to the Taliban and modern-day Islamic terrorism—for her family and the world at large.Invested in and suspicious of the pain of family and the shame of selfhood, the speakers of these richly evocative and musical poems mourn the magnitude of citizenship as a state of place and a state of mind.

While Hard Damage is framed by free-verse poetry, the middle sections comprise a lyric essay in fragments and a long documentary poem. Aber explores Rilke in the original German, the urban melancholia of city life, inherited trauma, and displacement on both linguistic and environmental levels, while employing surrealist and eerily domestic imagery.

Book Details

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publish Date: September 1, 2019
ISBN: 9781496215703
Language: English

About the Author

Aria Aber was raised in Germany, where she was born to Afghan refugees. Her debut book Hard Damage won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and will be published in September 2019. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in The New Yorker, New Republic, Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, Poem-A-Day, Narrative, Muzzle Magazine, Wasafiri and others. A graduate from the NYU MFA in Creative Writing, where she was the Writers in Public Schools Fellow, she holds awards and fellowships from Kundiman and Dickinson House and was the 2018-2019 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. She’s currently based in Berlin and is at work on her second book.

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