“Sand Opera is what political poetry must be like today in our age of seemingly permanent war.”—Mark Nowak
Sand Opera emerges from the dizzying position of being named but unheard as an Arab American and out of the parallel sense of seeing Arabs named and silenced since 9/11. Polyvocal poems, arias, and redacted text speak for the unheard. Philip Metres exposes our common humanity while investigating the dehumanizing perils of war and its lasting effect on our culture.
From “Hung Lyres”:
When the bombs fell, she could barely raise
her pendulous head, wept shrapnel
until her mother capped the fire
with her breast. She teetered
on the highwire of herself. She
lay down & the armies retreated, never
showing their backs. When she unlatched
from the breast, the planes took off again.
Stubborn stars refused to fall . . .
Philip Metres has written a number of books and chapbooks, most recently A Concordance of Leaves (Diode, 2013), abu ghraib arias (Flying Guillotine, 2011), To See the Earth (Cleveland State, 2008), and Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront Since 1941 (University of Iowa, 2007). His work has appeared widely, including in Best American Poetry, and has garnered two NEA fellowships, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, four Ohio Arts Council Grants, the Anne Halley Prize, the Arab American Book Award, and the Cleveland Arts Prize. He teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.