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an ode to joy, sanna wani

This is the second piece for interrobang, ?!, our arts+culture column. A film review of è stata la mano di dio ^ the hand of god was first.

Context: Been a long time since I’ve written regularly in public in a way that is serious, sincere, and specific. The following blog post is part of a collection in various states of completion called odes of joy.

a sun, hands, a mug, a phone, ____

Consider listening to Solange Knowles: wikipedia, especially Cranes in the Sky: youtube.

A short version of this goes:

We (me, my selves, and I) adore Sanna Wani and her poetry. House of Anansi is helping the world, but particularly me, by putting out her first collection of poems: My Grief, The Sun. Please order it for yourself, a friend. If you require assistance figuring out how to request that your local library do so, feel free to email us too! We’re at asad@chairsandtables.org.

Sanna has a beautiful newsletter called booklight which feels like reading a letter or a quietly loud tea party with her.


more hands, same sun?
A longer version is:

Despite a good memory for instances of how names, peoples, events enter into my consciousness, I cannot recall where/how I was first fortunate to encounter Sanna’s work. Perhaps it was Sanna+Penrose Press's The Pink of the Seams? Probably.

A few full moons ago I'd tweeted:

& like most things I post on twitter, thankfully, it gained no traction.

Aliya Bhatia sent me Cranes in the Sky, a song by Solange Knowles, years(?) ago and it was playing when the group chat with Manahil Bandukwala and Sanna chirped at me. Sanna mentioned that this poem below didn’t make it into the book:


Not long after Sanna shared it was published in Ex/post magazine

I think about my friend Elamin Abdelmahmoud a lot. Elamin has his book out soon too. A few months ago, he wrote about how Taylor Swift Somehow Made “Red” Even Better:

"The 10-minute “All Too Well” also contains a line we hadn’t heard before: “You kept me like a secret, but I kept you like an oath.” That is a bar. If a lesser writer wrote those words, you would probably never hear the end of it. If I wrote that, I would tell everyone I knew. Swift wrote that and left it on the cutting-room floor."

Re-reading ‘Lately I’m Trying’, waiting for Sanna's book to arrive I am reminded of that line over and over. Sanna wrote a poem and left it on the cutting room floor of (her book equivalent of an) editing room. If something that does not make the cut is of such quality?! Well then. Wow. How incredible is that.

Sanna is one of my favourites because she reminds me of some select favourites. But is also so marvelously Sanna. Who else would write, compose, listen as she does?

Despite everything and wiser people will tell you, precisely because of it, we get to witness the origami of Wani's poetry when it arrives. And it has been for so many suns and moons now.

Yours in anticipation.

Further reading:

-Tomorrow Place: poets.org by Sanna Wani

-Two poems: peach mag by Sanna Wani

-Border Poem: briarpatch mag by Sanna Wani and Manahil Bandukwala

Welcome to bul-bul.press, the print+publish home currently under construction. Email asad[at]chairsandtables[dot]org for questions, typos, and inquiries.