The poems in More Shadow Than Bird are imagistic narratives of emotional situations that offer not the story of a life, but of the consciousness accompanying the life lived. The quirky perspective and musical surface of these poems makes them engaging— deceptively catchy, even— as a mysterious darkness tows from beneath to draw the reader deeper in. This consciousness, even as it operates on a more philosophical level, is embodied—not abstract or removed— conveying a sense of rawness and honesty that is rare in non-representational work.
‘These are distinctive, tight, sonic little mysteries. Dickinson abides here. I really love the writing itself, the returning internal rhymes, the careful rhythms, and the loveliness of the phrasings.’ —David Baker
‘Nuar Alsadir’s More Shadow Than Bird abandons the self in order to create a haunting dialogue with the self. These poems converse from the inside out; they come alive in the back and forth of a mind attempting to understand what it means to be in relation to. The couplet is employed here to full effect as relationships, both to others and the world, are interrogated. If ever there was a fantasy of transcendence these poems begin after that in the exacting and ruthless moments of mourning and loss even as the “I” and the “you” continue to orbit each other. Alsadir’s debut collection is lawless and provocative and heartbreaking.’ —Claudia Rankine
‘It is the tone of these poems that propels them forward, at once deeply intelligent and vulnerable. The sounds, the surfaces, are muscular and precise (like Plath), and yet subterranean fears leak onto every page. Alsadir’s alchemic interplay of sound and the subterranean creates a thrilling tension. As an American poet of Iraqi parents, she writes from a place of being not only outside the dominant culture, but threatened with annihilation. Fear comes to life in these pages, sits beside us, seemingly contained, seemingly at peace, lulling us, but always close.’ —Nick Flynn
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