Saturday, February 8, 2014


  • "The Silences of Contemporary Syrian Literature" World Literature Today, Spring 2001.
  • “My People Are Rising” (poem) in Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America, Vol. 13, Issue 1, pp. 4–6. April 2012.
  • “Asiya’s Aberrance,” I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights, ed. Melissa Kwasny & M.L. Smoker. Lost Horse Press, 2009. pp. 55–57.
  • “My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears,” “Hijab Scene #1,” “Hijab Scene #2,” “Postcards from Hajar,” Hayan Charara, ed., Inclined to Speak: Contemporary Arab American Poetry, U of Arkansas Press, 2008, pp. 171–176.
  • “Pears in the Time of Burnished Gold,” in Bascove, ed., Sustenance and Desire: A Food Lover’s Anthology of Sensuality and Humor, David R. Godine, 2004, pp. 95–96.
(courtesy of Wikipedia)

Excerpts & Whole Works

 "Yes, I carry explosives
They're called words
And if you don't get up
Off your assumptions
They're going to blow you away"
-Hijab Scene #7
"God has escaped the mosques
the synagogue
the church 
where we locked him up for years"
-Most Wanted


I chose to create a blog about Mohja Kahf because she writes in a honest matter. I was introduced to her work in a class I was taking. A required reading was Kahf's "My Grandmother Washes her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears". While reading this, I felt Kahf's sincerity about the situation. She explained how people stared at her grandmother, and she kind of just sat back, because this was just her grandmother practicing prayer. It was nothing strange to her, but Kahf felt some insecurity in her culture because her double identity of being Syrian and American. Her honest reaction and feelings for her grandmother are what really stuck with me. This honesty is evident in all of her works. Another example would be in her poem entitled "Hijab Scene #7" where Kahf responds to many Americans' assumptions and stereotypes. She clearly is offended by the media and social portrayals of Muslims in the West, and she reacts in such a sarcastic, brutal way. She writes, "Yes, I carry explosives. They're called words. And if you don't get up off your assumptions, they're going to blow you away". This is obviously a reaction to terrorist stereotypes in the West, but I love how Kahf turns it around and goes along with it, and then attacks with her sense of dignity.

I really appreciate this, especially in a writer. I believe that the general audience would appreciate such bluntness as well. It is refreshing to read honest words.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Revolving Themes

There are themes that Kahf's works revolve around. According to, those themes include: "cultural dissonance and overlap between Muslim-American and other communities, both religious and secular; Islam morality, gender and gender-relations, sexuality, politics, and [...] identity." 

Brief Biography

Mohja Kahf was born in 1967 in Damascus, Syria, and moved with her family to the United States in 1971. Her family has always been involved with Syrian politics. She has a Ph.D in comparative literature from Rutgers University. She is a writer and poet, and a professor. (