“We need a new poetry lexicon—a new way of moleculing the poem on the page, even—and Maya Salameh brings it. We need all the strange Arabic-diasporic ways we can find for being in this terrible and joyful and often frighteningly banalizing world, and Salameh’s poems are a generous find. Her writing is an unexpected cousin in the colonized and capitalism-razed city, bewildering and divining things you’ve never heard but want to learn. . . . Prepare to be stretched and delighted.”
—Mohja Kahf, from the Foreword
The divine and the digital achieve a distinct corporality in Maya Salameh’s HOW TO MAKE AN ALGORITHM IN THE MICROWAVE, winner of the 2022 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. Layering prayer with code, Salameh brings supposedly unassailable technological constructs like algorithm, recursion, and loop into conversation with the technologies of womanhood, whether liner, lipstick, or blood. Exploring the relationships we have with our devices, she speaks back to the algorithm (“a computer’s admission to blood”), which acts simultaneously as warden, confidant, and data thief.
Here Salameh boldly examines how an Arab woman survives the digitization of her body—experimenting with form to create an intimate collage of personal and neocolonial histories, fearlessly insinuating herself into the scripts that would otherwise erase her, and giving voice to the full mess of ritual.