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....

  • Grace W

    (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) 3.5 Some of these poems were great but most of them were just not at all my thing. I'm aware that I'm very picky about my poetry so take this review with a grain ...

  • 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 ...