by Dujie Tahat
‘Dujie Tahat’s Salat is a book of poems written in a compelling new form of the poet’s own invention that participate, fully — they praise, weep, spit, beg, laugh, choke, sing. In this murderous age it is increasingly unconscionable to be inert, in one’s living or in one’s art. Tahat tells us: “There’s a river in heaven, and I am the star that belongs to it.” Salat is boisterously, resoundingly alive.’
— Kaveh Akbar
Published: November 2020
Dujie Tahat writes, “There are metaphors and then there are metaphors.” Salat bestrides the space between poem and prayer, between the ideal of this country and what is truly measured out daily. I would call it a survival guide in verse, except these poems contain the same energy and power as the tree that splits the rock.
— Cornelius Eady, Judge of the Sunken Garden Chapbook Award
Dujie Tahat’s Salat is a book of poems written in a compelling new form of the poet’s own invention that participate, fully — they praise, weep, spit, beg, laugh, choke, sing. In this murderous age it is increasingly unconscionable to be inert, in one’s living or in one’s art. Tahat tells us: “There’s a river in heaven, and I am the star that belongs to it.” Salat is boisterously, resoundingly alive.
— Kaveh Akbar
Borrowing their structure from Muslim prayer…these poems remind the reader that poetry is a kind of prayer, that any prayer is a kind of searching. Tahat writes, “When I say I mean / I mean Ameen.” Ameen indeed to this moving collection that contemplates what it means to belong and be other, to be child and father, to be human and holy, to mourn and praise.
— Zeina Hashem Beck
What I love most about prayer are the small movements within assigned rituals, and the ways people make those movements their own. And so, I am thankful for Salat, these poems that add language and beauty to those movements. That add history, image, and narrative flair. Dujie Tahat weaves all of these things together like a song, summoning people to a holy space.
— Hanif Abdurraqib
In the Islamic tradition, Salat is the second pillar of the faith and the structure that frames the believers’ days. The poems in Salat summon the bodies nesting inside the body, father and child, elder and self, immigrant and citizen. “Attend to this, o friend, this song, / this burial, this holy water be praised /stretching farther into the collapsing / distance than we ever could / have imagined.” Through the motions of a most intimate daily practice, Tahat’s poems call us back in to ourselves and the hearts of those who survive in us.
— Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, author of Water & Salt
Dujie Tahat, winner of the 2020 Sunken Garden Chapbook Award, is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington State. The author of Here I Am O My God, selected by Fady Joudah for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Sugar House Review, The Journal, ZYZZVA, The Southeast Review, Southern Indiana Review, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Dujie Tahat has earned fellowships from Hugo House, Jack Straw, and the Poetry Foundation, and a scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. They serve as a poetry editor for Moss and Homology Lit and co-host The Poet Salon podcast. They got their start as a Seattle Poetry Slam Finalist, a collegiate grand slam champion, and Seattle Youth Speaks GrandSlam Champion, representing Seattle at HBO’s Brave New Voices. Dujie Tahat is an MFA candidate in the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.
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