National Poetry Month: Fady Joudah

I always love reading Fady Joudah’s poetry and sharing it with you on the blog. This poem, “Canopus,” is from his most recent collection Tethered to Stars (Milkweed Editions, 2021).

Canopus is the second-brightest star in the night sky and the brightest star in Carina, a southern constellation. It’s a first-magnitude star not visible north of 37 degrees latitude.

“Canopus”

Be an owl,
not even a sunflower

turns its head
270 degrees,

but may the need to ask me
about my darkness

never command you.
Be a sunflower,

grow old to face east,
warm in the morning,

kind to insects and bees,
and may our overlap

be two: light and light
in mouths that vary

the ninety-nine
names for snow.

***

photo credit Cybele Knowles

Fady Joudah has published five collections of poems: The Earth in the Attic; Alight; Textu; a book-long sequence of short poems whose meter is based on cellphone character count; Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance; and, most recently, Tethered to Stars. He has translated several collections of poetry from the Arabic and is the co-editor and co-founder of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. He was a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2007 and has received the Arab American Book Award, a PEN award, a Banipal/Times Literary Supplement prize from the UK, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is an Editor-at-Large for Milkweed Editions. He lives in Houston, with his wife and kids, where he practices internal medicine.

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