Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Poets and Poems: Mohja Kahf and “Hagar Poems”

The Biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is well known. God promises Abraham he will be a great nation, but his wife Sarah, because of her advanced age, is doubtful. She gives Hagar, one of her servants, to Abraham, thinking that’s where the great nation will come from. Hagar promptly gets pregnant and later gives birth to Ishmael. Then Sarah gets pregnant, and has Isaac. Abraham eventually faces rivalry in the camp, until Sarah convinces him to expel Hagar and her son, forcing them into the desert to (presumably) die.

But they don’t. God hears her cries as they’re dying, and sends an angel to rescue them and point to water. The Jewish people will descend through Isaac, and the Arab people through Ishmael. The rivalry in the camp becomes the rivalry lasting to the present day.

This is the story from the Book of Genesis in the Bible, but the Quran contains a similar account. Poet and writer Mohja Kahf uses both accounts to weave Hagar Poems, her new collection published this year.   

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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