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'And We Chose Everything': A Collection of 72 Poems Featuring Arab Writers

From feminism to love and loss, you’re sure to find a topic that’s close to your heart in this anthology.

If you’re an experienced literature enthusiast, you already know the power of heartfelt verses. However, If you’re more like other people who are looking into why poetry has become so popular lately, “AND WE CHOSE EVERYTHING: a poetry collection” will give you some answers.

The book tackles moving matters such as self-reflection, mental health, feminism and social satire. And by encompassing such a wide variety of subjects in distinct styles, the anthology easily appeals to all kinds of readers. From challenging the expectations and realities of living in a single-minded society to delving into struggling with anxiety and depression, there’s a topic that’s sure to be on your interest list. Another issue some of the poets have touched on is their ongoing endeavours to belong to new locales while they remain connected to their roots. All 72 poems have been crafted with extremely thought out words that keep the reader entranced.

The collection full of engaging verses includes poems by notable writers such as Zeina Hashem Beck, whose first book, “To Live in Autumn,” won the 2013 Backwaters Prize. The Lebanese poet has also penned “Louder than Hearts” and “There Was and How Much There Was.” Another renowned Lebanese featured in the book is Rewa Zeinati, the author of the poetry chapbook “Bullets and Orchids,” which was a strong contender for the Arab American Book Award in 2014. Zeinati, whose poems, essays, and translations have been published in various publications in the US, UK and Arab region, has also garnered attention for her creative non-fiction book, “Nietzsche’s Camel Must Die: An invitation to Say ‘No.’”

Palestinian filmmaker, poet and writer Hind Shoufani is one of the other recognisable people who add their special touches to “AND WE CHOSE EVERYTHING.” The founder of the Poeticians poets‘ collective in Beirut and Dubai, who is known for writing about love, women and rights, the struggle for freedom and the Middle East conflict, has penned works like “WaistLands” and “Civil Fatigues.” Many newcomers also add their fresh and vivid insights, using words that seem jump out of the book while writing about the differing topics.   

The book, which is published by boutique publishing house Turning Point, is co-edited by Tala Smiley. The Lebanese poet, who loves to experiment with form and style, has an MA in Poetry from Queen Mary, University of London. Lara El Mekkawi, the other co-editor, teaches poetry at the American University of Beirut. She has edited other books for the publishing house that specialises in compelling Middle Eastern novels, empowering self-help books, rich coffee table books and more.

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