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The War Works Hard

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  80 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Revolutionary poetry by an exiled Iraqi woman. Winner of a 2004 PEN Translation Fund Award. "Yesterday I lost a country," Dunya Mikhail writes in The War Works Hard, a revolutionary work by an exiled Iraqi poether first to appear in English. Amidst the ongoing atrocities in Iraq, here is an important new voice that rescues the human spirit from the ruins, unmasking the off ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 17th 2005 by New Directions (first published April 1st 2005)
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The Corpse Washer by Sinan AntoonThe Iraqi Nights by Dunya MikhailThe Corpse Exhibition and Other Stories of Iraq by Hassan BlasimThe War Works Hard by Dunya MikhailNostalgia, My Enemy by Saadi Youssef
Iraq in Diaspora
4th out of 36 books — 7 voters
The Rings of Saturn by W.G. SebaldLabyrinths by Jorge Luis BorgesJourney to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand CélineLast Evenings on Earth by Roberto BolañoThe Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
Best New Directions Books
108th out of 213 books — 126 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aubrey
You planted pomegranates and prisons
round, red and full.
I'd use the word 'duty' in context with a work like this, but so-called "Americans" don't know the meaning of the word. No, your country does not span the entirety of two continents, however much your colloquialisms imply otherwise. No, you are responsible for the poetry here, least so long as you want your precious capitalism and its military industrial complex steroids to remain in place. Yes, it's cute when your white girlfriend gets a
...more
Andrea
Beautiful and devastating book of poetry by an Iraqi poet covering both Iraq Wars.
Meghan
Apr 07, 2008 Meghan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I had to chance to hear her read her work just the other day and she is AMAZING! She's an Iraqi/American who focuses a lot on war and love in her poetry.

The title poem "The War Works Hard" is worth picking up the book all on its own.

Not only does her work give insight to another culture and its perceptions but she happens to be a very skilled writer.

All the poems are translated and there is a small index of notes explaining of few of the terms that are unfamiliar to non-Iraqi natives.
Sandra
Jun 24, 2014 Sandra rated it really liked it
A brilliant writer, memorable and thought provoking poems. This is the first book of her poetry I have read. I really liked "Crashed Acts", Buzz", "An Urgent Call", "The Rocking Chair, "The Artist Child", The Bulletin Board, and "The New Year".

I would rate this 4.5 stars and will definitely share it with my weekly poetry group.
Ethan
Oct 25, 2007 Ethan rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007
A bloody, traumatic collection of poems from an Iraqi poet now living in the U.S. Filled with many moments of brilliance, the book occasionally relies on generic images to instill the horrors of war, torture and exile.
Lauren (Burnt Fiction)
Jul 27, 2016 Lauren (Burnt Fiction) rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, translated
Very beautiful collection of poetry. Mikhail's poems are really accessible and not too polemic. I would highly recommend it.
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Born in Iraq in 1965, Dunya Mikhail worked as a journalist for the Baghdad Observer. Facing increasing threats from the Iraqi authorities, she fled first to Jordan, then to the United States. In 2001, she was awarded the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing. Mikhail’s translator Elizabeth Winslow won a 2004 Pen Translation Fund Award for her first book in English, The War Works Hard ...more
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“I thank everyone I don't love.
They don't cause me heartache
they don't make me write long letters
they don't disturb my dreams
I don't await them anxiously
I don't read their horoscopes in magazines
I don't dial their numbers
I don't think of them.
I thank them a lot
they don't turn my life upside down.”
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