Ancestry Unfinished: Poems of a Lost Generation (Paperback)
Yasmin Mariam Kloth's poems skillfully channel the voices and the spirit of the extraordinary women in her life. Ancestry Unfinished becomes a document of "meaning making." In the tradition of immigrant narratives, Kloth juxtaposes the American day-to-day realities with her hypnotic Syrian-Lebanese heritage. Her parent's adopted country of Egypt becomes vastly picturesque. Yet, this collection is deeply introspective and full of implied questions. Embrace yourself-Kloth is an exquisite wordsmith. Her flavorful poems will tuck you delicately between her grandmother's hand rolled grape leaves and her infinite wisdom. I kept rereading these poems like a sacred text, pausing to contemplate and then continuing to turn the page before the storm of assimilation compromises the fate of our daughters.
-Shah Mankerian, History of Forgetfulness (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021)
Yasmin Mariam Kloth's writing is arresting and acute, filled with deep sensory encounters of the human form, of air and land, of language and music, of keepsakes and customs and coffee and lime and the "place where the river is older / than pieces of the sky." These poems skillfully interrogate multiple modes of betweenness-diasporic consciousness, medical and genetic uncertainty, the turning-over of generations-in order to ask hard and essential questions about identity, lineage, and what it means to look to the past and the future. I'm grateful for Kloth's poems in the world.
-Natalie Shapero, Popular Longing (Copper Canyon, 2021)
Traveling the lines of these poems from "Grandmother," to "Mother," to "Daughter," Yasmin
Mariam Kloth weaves threads between her Middle Eastern heritage and her life in Ohio. In yearning to connect with and live inside an "unfinished ancestry," Kloth bridges the "distance (between) language and loss" eloquently and with great love, "search(ing) for parts of (her)self" amid family stories and traditions. These carefully-crafted poems address such subjects as dementia, ritual, memory, and language, and call upon the "small things"-a phone call, a daughter's face, a palm tree-to reveal fingerprints of belonging that mark the way home.
-Sandy Coomer, The Broken Places (Saddle Road Press, 2021)