How the Water Holds Me by Tariq Luthun (eBook)


by Tariq Luthun

Editors’ Selection from the 2019 Frost Place Chapbook Competition

ISBN: 978-1-949344-19-6

downloadable as .epub and .mobi

also available in softcover format



Both a reckoning and a reclamation, How the Water Holds Me surveys movements through diaspora, dissecting displacement, mortality, responsibility, and masculinity. With deft narrative and rich imagery, Tariq Luthun’s collection of poems makes space for everyone, from Gaza to Detroit, asking us to reassess the notion of belonging, and to do something meaningful with these revelations. How the Water Holds Me invites each of us to explore what it means to seek—and share—refuge.

“Tariq Luthun has done something wondrous in his chapbook How the Water Holds Me, a striking, poignant look at identity, war, ancestry, and dislocation. His writing is dynamic and elegant, with an eye for devastating questions: ‘How ever/will we live long enough to grieve?’ Palestine glints within these pieces like a jewel, the context for explorations of family, of self, of home. ‘Each of us needs a place/to return to,’ he observes, later confessing, ‘And I pray/for everything/that has not tried/to kill me.’ Amen.”
—Hala Alyan, author of The Twenty-Ninth Year

“Tariq Luthun’s How the Water Holds Me stakes a homeland on the boundaries between the domestic and the diasporic; Palestine and Detroit; feast and fast; the erotic and the ecstatic. Take note of the deft attention to music, ‘When piqued, boys be a bone. / Be a tantrum, a cracked tomb…’; of well-wrought lines like, ‘When i meet my mother, / i talk to her like a man / talks to himself….’ These are unsparing poems of the body and the body politic. Lean closer and listen to this American son calling from, calling to, and calling out America. No, this is the yawp we were promised.”
—Tommye Blount, author of Fantasia for the Man in Blue

“Tariq Luthun’s poems are vulnerable confessions and whispered conversations about becoming, and continuing to become, a young man, a Palestinian, an immigrant, a witness, and a fighter.”
—Noura Erakat, author of Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine

“What a chilling collection where each poem is a home one longs to return to, a belonging and also an unrequited farewell. This collection is a beautiful ode to the wading that happens in distance, the dear grasp of the hold and the survival of letting go.”
—Aja Monet, author of My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter

Tariq Luthun is a Detroit-born, Dearborn-raised community organizer, data consultant, and Emmy Award-winning poet. The son of Palestinian Muslim immigrants from Gaza, he is a Kresge Arts in Detroit fellow that earned his MFA in Poetry from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Luthun’s work has earned him such honors as being named Best of the Net, in addition to fellowships through Kundiman, The Watering Hole, and the Kresge Foundation. His work has appeared in Vinyl Poetry, Lit Hub, Mizna, and Button Poetry, among others. He also serves as a board member The Offing Literary Magazine. Luthun’s first collection of poetry, How The Water Holds Me, was awarded Editors’ Selection by Bull City Press and is available now. Some of Luthun’s most recent accomplishments included being featured in the 2017 Best of the Net anthology, and winning an Emmy Award for his production with the University of Michigan Health Systems. He’s also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Bettering American Poetry, and Best New Poets. He has shared stages and forums with the likes of Omar Offendum, Safia Elhillo, Remi Kanazi and many others from across various disciplines. Luthun spends most of his time hosting events, working with youth, and facilitating marginalized communities for growth through expression and action.


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