The Twenty-Ninth Year

The Twenty-Ninth Year Review

In Islamic and Western tradition, age twenty-nine is a milestone, a year of transformation and upheaval.

For Hala Alyan, this is a year in which the past—memories of family members, old friends and past lovers, the heat of another land, another language, a different faith—winds itself around the present. Hala's ever-shifting, subversive verse sifts together and through different forms of forced displacement and the tolls they take on mind and body. Poems leap from war-torn cities in the Middle East, to an Oklahoma Olive Garden, a Brooklyn brownstone; from alcoholism to recovery; from a single woman to a wife. This collection summons breathtaking chaos, one that seeps into the bones of these odes, the shape of these elegies.

A vivid catalog of trauma, heartache, loneliness, and joy, The Twenty-Ninth Year is an education in looking for home and self in the space between disparate identities.

Title:The Twenty-Ninth Year

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    The Twenty-Ninth Year Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    From the publisher blurb: "In Islamic and Western tradition, age twenty-nine is a milestone, a year of transformation and upheaval."It's fitting that these poems all deal with the feeling of place and...

  • Julie Ehlers

    There were a few good lines here, but mostly this struck me as inauthentic. Alyan seems more focused on making sure the reader sees her in a certain way than on getting at anything really honest. But ...

  • Samantha Colwell

    I was so entranced by the idea that the 29th year is something particularly transformative in the Islamic culture. Being in my 29th year myself, I wanted to read something that would change my classic...

  • Mark

    Alyan is a Palestinian American poet and novelist. I read and enjoyed her last novel, Salt Houses and was pleasantly surprised to hear she is a poet too. This is a solid collection, much of it, about ...

  • Alana

    "Cliffhanger" is a poem that will sit with me for years and years....

  • Mara

    My favorite poems in this collection were: "Oklahoma," "Not a Mosque," and "Instructions for a Wife.""all the love in the world won't buy you what you want in the first place." (from "Armadillo" p.9)"...

  • Melissa

    I was impressed with the poetic nature of Alyan’s novel Salt Houses so I was really interested in her new poetry collection. The poems in The Twenty-Ninth Year twist around themselves, unable to fin...

  • James

    A powerful collection of poetry by a Palestinian-American poet as she reflects on a year in her life. The poems highlight the theme of displacement, not just of being of Palestinian descent, but being...

  • Lynsy

    This is an interesting case of liking the voice more than the poems. I think it's a good, cohesive collection, but some of the poems just didn't work for me. There were a few lines that really struck ...

  • Emily

    For whatever reason, reading this forwards didn’t work for me, so I read it backwards and the urgency landed much more. Absolutely fantastic poems. Highly recommend this collection, in any order you...