George Abraham is a Palestinian-American Poet, Writer, and Bioengineering PhD candidate at Harvard University. He is the author of the poetry collection, Birthright, forthcoming with Button Poetry in 2020, as well as the chapbooks al youm: for yesterday & her inherited traumas (the Atlas Review, 2017) and the specimen's apology (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). He is the recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, the Poetry Foundation Incubator, the Watering Hole, and Brooklyn Poets. He is the winner of the 2018 Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, selected by Tommy Pico, as well as the title of "Best Poet" at the 2017 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. His poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Tin House, The Missouri Review, West Branch, jubilat, LitHub, Mizna, and anthologies such as Nepantla, Bettering American Poetry, and Beyond Memory: an Anthology of Arab American Creative Nonfiction. He hopes to continue bringing awareness to Palestinian human rights and socio-economic struggles through art.
from Button Poetry
Advanced Praise for Birthright
"George Abraham writes, “i am always translating” – from the sizzling, flaring elements of Palestinian/universal displacement, immigration struggles, gender identity, body & memory as “fragmented countries” too, he has built a bold, brilliant book. His poems burn with questioning, “I was not always crumbled fortress & concrete/partition,” they leap with energy. Here is a love too wide for containment, illuminating layers of story – family & land, political yet passionately personal. In a lineage of many broken hearts & heart attacks, here is a heart too brave to mutter or flail.
- Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate
George Abraham is a “scripter of breath” who moves fluidly across poetic forms and linguistic borders to mourn the plight of the Palestinian people and to praise their resilience. Listen to these songs of exile, diaspora, and longing. Navigate these maps of home, the body, and belonging. Remember these translations of erasure, history, and inheritance. Birthright is a miraculous debut that “rewrites graves into sunrise” and crafts a poetics in which “every pronoun is a Free Palestine.”
- Dr. Craig Santos Perez, Author of Habitat Threshold
Abraham captures how politics penetrates our psyche and consciousness, but as his poems triumph through anguish, we are able to hold onto life. The journey of reading these words is also a universal one, bringing together conceptions of faith, love, family, settler-colonialism, violence, queerness, and the search for home. Never has poetry pierced through my heart, and touched my soul, as while reading Birthright for the first time.
- Dr. Sa'ed Atshan, Author of Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique
the specimen's apology
(Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019)
Praise for the specimen's apology:
"Searing away binaries, demolishing the calcified partitions between halves—this is the project George Abraham’s the specimen’s apology. Boy/man, man/woman, history/present, conflict/occupation, English/Arabic, poetry/visual art—the gulf between each is breached, shrunk, erased, widened, warped. “I am always translating,” Abraham tells us in one poem—and it is the wild desperate yearning of the translator, working in vain to achieve perfect fidelity to a source, that powers these poems: 'if desire is, / as my language translates, a moon, / let this body be the satellite.'"
- Kaveh Akbar (author of Calling A Wolf A Wolf)
"From the first, devastating poem (“i touch myself & do not leak gold”), George Abraham’s poems bristle with alchemy, a narrative of love, history, family, and Palestine that pulses with longing. “You cannot know the way you split galaxies/with a single breath,” he says, a prophecy that unfolds throughout the collection, where the speaker reclaims himself, his grief and—yes—his land over and over. Juxtaposed with Leila Abdelrazaq’s startlingly evocative artwork, the specimen’s apology is a fearless, riveting excavation of self and other."
- Hala Alyan (author of The Twenty-Ninth Year and Salt Houses, two-time winner of the Arab American Book Award)
"In the specimen's apology George Abraham writes with a sharp elegance about lineage, about inheritance, about what gets passed down and what doesn't. What's erased. What's obscured. What's locked away. I get the sense of Rubik Cube-ing, searching for the right sequence of words or images or structures to make sense of absence, and in doing so he makes a beautiful, furious and crackling new kind of sense. His writing smacks my feelings right across the face."
- Tommy Pico (author of Junk and Nature Poem, winner of the American Book Award)
al youm (TAR 2017)
Praise for al youm:
"George Abraham is the poetic love child of Whitman and Darwish, an exile living in the borderlands of his own Palestinian body. Through these poems--daringly experimental, explosively confession--he rebuilds himself out of his own erasure. In his words, 'your body isn't a temple--/ your body is the heaven the temples bow to.'"
- Phil Metres, author of Sand Opera / winner of the Arab American Book Award
"George Abraham's poems are both guide and gift. Here is writing through the body in space and time; through ancestral memory and trauma; here is breath, soul, life -- in America; in Palestine. Abraham's poems arrive as ingenious and necessary solutions to equations we don't yet know we need. This book is how we heal."
- Marwa Helal, author of Invasive species
"George Abraham’s al youm engages my brain and my heart in ways both relentless and tender. These poems do such exciting things with form—they are simultaneously ancient and futuristic, considering old hurts and old histories while constantly reimagining what is possible in terms of what a poem can do—visually, syntactically, emotionally— on the page. "
- Safia Elhillo, author of The January Children