Abu Toha, Mosab: Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza
City Lights, paperback
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Publisher Marketing: These poems emerge directly from the experience of growing up and living one’s entire life in Gaza, making a life for one’s family and raising a family in constant lockdown, and often under direct attack.
"Mosab Abu Toha is an astonishingly gifted young poet from Gaza, almost a seer with his eloquent lyrical vernacular, his visions of life, continuity, time, possibility, and beauty. His poems break my heart and awaken it, at the same time. I feel I have been waiting for his work all my life."—Naomi Shihab Nye
"Mosab Abu Toha's elegant and unforgettable poetry calls me to celebrate the struggle to survive. Though forged in the bleak landscape of Gaza, he conjures a radiance that echoes Milosz and Kabir. These poems are like flowers that grow out of bomb craters and Mosab Abu Toha is an astonishing talent to celebrate."—Mary Karr
In this poetry debut, conceived during the Israeli bombing campaign of May 2021, Mosab Abu Toha writes about his life under siege, first as a child, and then as a young father. A survivor of four brutal military attacks, he bears witness to a grinding cycle of destruction and assault, and yet, his poetry is inspired by a profoundly universal humanity.
In direct, vivid language, Abu Toha tells of being wounded by shrapnel at the age of 16 and, a few years later, watching his home and his university get hit by IDF warplanes in a bombing campaign that killed two of his closest friends. These poems are filled with rubble and the ever-present menace of surveillance drones policing a people unwelcome in their own land, and they are also suffused with the smell of tea, roses in bloom, and the view of the sea at sunset. Children are born, families continue traditions, students attend university, and libraries rise from the ruins as Palestinians go on about their lives, creating beauty and finding new ways to survive.