cue: poems

(Georgia Review Books/University of Georgia Press, 2024) 

Praise for CUE

At every turn, this brilliant book exposes the intersections between science, culture, economics, and spirituality. It is ultimately a radical love poem to that blue day in a world that erases classification and embraces these shapeshifting intersections. And Siwar Masannat, well, ‘(s)he is (t)here.’
Brenda Cárdenas, author of Trace and Boomerang

I finish reading Siwar Masannat’s quietly brilliant cue, I close my eyes, I am not alone, I know this is how I’m legible. I hear the voice of cue. It whispers, ‘think of the garter snake breaching ground, so shy, think of the chickens jostling their social order, think of bats listening for what your shape sends back (a circle is all the secrets), think of plants growing closer together, then absent but for their smell. Yes, like that. Yes, think of all the genders. Now sit here. Yes, you can wear the plastic flowers you brought. Yes, only you will see these photographs. Now smile. Or don’t. Think of the theft. Think of the theft back of that. That’s it, now, look this way. Now, if you please, let me keep seeing you.’
Farid Matuk, author of Redolent

[B]etween story and weave we slight our way in between,’ writes Siwar Masannat, whose spare and tender poems invite the reader to look beyond the myriad classifications in which our intimacies are concealed. Masannat’s poems deftly enact the title of the collection―they aid memory in retrieving buried details, they gesture at how each body is permitted to move, to express identity, love, desire. In poems that gaze back at Lebanese photographer Hashem El-Madani’s portraits and through them, Masannat writes to the subjects, the artist excavating their images, and to the reader, with one breath.
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, author of Kaan and Her Sisters

The poems in Siwar Masannat’s cue constantly find a place of necessary disquiet in the interaction of the personal and intimate, and the broader political realities of danger and concern. There is a sensuality in the manner in which they offer lyrical expressions of desire and possibility. Yet, always lurking in the shadows are the threats to desire, communication, and affection. These are the things that demand the language of ‘codes,’ the secret idioms of connection necessary in ‘hostile light.’ As a result, Masannat’s poetry keeps pushing its way towards forms necessary to articulate increasingly challenging realities in the world. Terms like ‘hybridity,’ ‘experimentalism,’ and all the derivations of the prefix ‘trans’―transcultural, transnational, translation―richly and beautifully preoccupy Masannat. These poems are equally compelled by a desire to communicate―sometimes in blunt witticisms, sometimes in song, and sometimes in lyric vulnerability. cue is a stunning second collection by this exciting poet.
Kwame Dawes, author of Sturge Town

50 Water Dreams (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2015)

Winner of the First Book Poetry Contest 2014
Praise for 50 Water Dreams

“How rare and exhilarating it is, in our time, to find a book that is both wildly inventive and daring in its style and incredibly compelling in its content!”
Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

These clips of language beg for recovery, for coherence in a world unlikely to cohere. ‘What is causality, / for x to lead to y? What / is loss of land?’ asks Masannat in 50 Water Dreams, her essential debut.”
Sally Keith, author of The Fact of the Matter

“50 Water Dreams beckons us into a mysterious world of broken tesserae, a dispersed mosaic the reader must puzzle over to reconstruct. What we discover, as the pieces begin to fit, is that Siwar Masannat subversively flips the script of scripture, and invites us to re-read what we thought we knew as the story of a land called ‘holy.’”
Philip Metres, author of Sand Opera