Arab American National Museum
2017 Arab American Book Award Winner
The George Ellenbogen Poetry Award
By Hayan Charara
(Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)
The poems in Something Sinister grapple with conflicts arising from a world in which the personal, political, cultural, and aesthetic are deeply entangled and often troubling. Charara does not shy away from the tensions, unease, doubts, regrets, or bafflement of this world. His wide-ranging focus brings together people from all walks of life: a father obsessed with the boxer Muhammad Ali; a girl missing since the 1970s; a mother and daughter trapped in a submerged vehicle; and a suicide bomber, his witnesses, and victims.
Hayan Charara is a poet, children’s book author, essayist, and editor. His previous poetry books are The Sadness of Others (2006) and The Alchemist’s Diary (2001). His children’s book, The Three Lucys (2016), received the New Voices Award Honor and a 2017 Arab American Book Award honorable mention. Charara edited Inclined to Speak (2008), an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry. With Fady Joudah, he is also a series editor of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. His honors include a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucille Joy Prize in Poetry from the University of Houston creative writing program, and the John Clare Prize. A Detroit native, Charara currently teaches in the Honors College at the University of Houston.