Quiet Orient Riot is an exploration of the tendons of motherhood, its mutinies and munificences. It is also a book of births and the politics of birth-regimes. Recounting a journey to bear a Palestinian child in the occupied Palestinian territory, the poems conjure up maternity as forecast, tally, weapon; its many filtrations through liturgical command and demographic anxiety. Maternity is made possible through contingent access to Israel’s sophisticated fertility treatment infrastructure, and it’s made impossible as it coincides with Israel’s 2009 assault on the Gaza Strip. What kind of language, then, can hold a body inside a body through emergency, diminishment, and into resistance and bloom? What kind of language might hold precarious humanhood?
Most significantly, Quiet Orient Riot asks of itself, without release or relief: can a text seek linguistic disorientation and reorientation both? Can a text walk the tightrope from detail to detail to envision a kind of awareness that is kin to worship? Quiet Orient Riot does not shy away from a word like “worship.” Nor does it shy away from how such worship might manifest in the words of a poem, bowing to a “chirpy printed sound” in Palestine and a forest of “little justices.”