One Hundred Hungers
by Lauren Camp
“Inventively structured, mixing personal lyrics with a series of short, gnomic, and haunting vignettes that seem to reside almost outside of time.… capturing the experience of an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant family… one of exile within exile.” — David Wojahn
Honorable Mention – Poetry, 2017 Arab American Book Award
In her Dorset Prize-winning new collection, Lauren Camp explores the lives of a first-generation Arab-American girl and her Jewish-Iraqi parent. One Hundred Hungers tells overlapping stories of food and ritual, immigration and adaptation, evoking her father’s boyhood in Baghdad in the 1940s at a time when tensions began to emerge along ethnic and religious lines. She also draws upon memories of Sabbath dinners in her grandparents’ new home in America to reveal how family culture persists.
“I was impressed by the cohesiveness of this collection, by the ease with which it moved between themes of exile, displacement, and uneasy assimilation into North American culture, and by its ability to tell a family history without resorting to autobiographical clichés.… The book is inventively structured, mixing personal lyrics with a series of short, gnomic, and haunting vignettes that seem to reside almost outside of time. Of course the particular diaspora from which the book derives—capturing the experience of an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant family—makes for a still more complicated stance, one of exile within exile.” — David Wojahn, from his Dorset Prize judge’s citation
A Door in the Evening
This house that filled us with thirteen varieties
of rice, brown boiled eggs, creases of language.
There was not a single sentence that was ordinary.
Tender lamb and copper pots;
a banquet every week, and we hovered.
The house was brick. Back door, side door.
Each of the reasons, the clutter of years.
I used to live here. I live here.
The beginning of forgetting comes quickly
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“One Hundred Hungers is a book of exile, faith, and acceptance. Of flavor, desire, and violation. Poet Lauren Camp confides in us what feels like a timeless narrative, and her creative explication of an American immigrant story feels entirely new.” — Sarah Warren, World Literature Today