Suheir Hammad..do you know who she is ? I didn’t, up until I got an invitation to an event on Facebook from one of my friends telling me she has an upcoming event in the courtyard in Amman.
Suheir Hammad (born October 25, 1973) is a Palestinian-American poet, author and political activist. She was born in Amman, Jordan to Palestinian refugee parents and immigrated with her family to Brooklyn, New York City when she was five years old.
As an adolescent Hammad was heavily influenced by Brooklyn’s vibrant Hip-Hop scene. She had also absorbed the stories her parents and grandparents had told her of life in their hometown of Lod, before the 1948 Palestinian exodus, and of the suffering they endured afterward, first in the Gaza Strip and then in Jordan. From these disparate influences Hammad was able to weave into her work a common narrative of dispossession, not only in her capacity as an immigrant, a Palestinian and a Muslim, but as a woman struggling against society’s inherent sexism and as a poet in her own right. When hip-hop entrepreneur Russel Simmons came across her piece entitled ‘First Writing Since,’ describing her reaction to the September 11 attacks, he signed her onto a deal with HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She recited original works on tour for the following two years. She is now working on her third publication which will be a book of prose.
Here’s a video posted up on the event on Facebook, and I suggest you check out more of her work here.
I’m just getting to know Suheir and her poems, the “Def Poems” and they are extremely deep, and her way of conveying her ideas is even deeper. The poems are harsh, true and spoken with heart. We need more people like Suheir.