The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony

The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony

Ladan Osman
Foreword by Kwame Dawes

African Poetry Book Series

108 pages

Paperback

April 2015

978-0-8032-6686-5

$15.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony asks: Whose testimony is valid? Whose testimony is worth recording? Osman’s speakers, who are almost always women, assert and reassert in an attempt to establish authority, often through persistent questioning. Specters of race, displacement, and colonialism are often present in her work, providing momentum for speakers to reach beyond their primary, apparent dimensions and better communicate. The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony is about love and longing, divorce, distilled desire, and all the ways we injure ourselves and one another.

Author Bio

Ladan Osman’s work has appeared in American Life in Poetry, Artful Dodge, Narrative Magazine, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbook, Ordinary Heaven, appears in Seven New Generation African Poets: A Chapbook boxed set. She lives in Chicago.

Praise

"In a world that too often plugs its ears to voices it thinks unworthy, Osman shows that it's actually more inappropriate to be decorous."—Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune

"Ladan Osman conveys a language and logic that is disturbingly fresh; it leaps from one observation to another and speaks familiarly yet obliquely enough to make us listen a little harder."—Wesley Rothman, Rain Taxi

“I have rarely encountered a young poet whose work was so completely its own thing, was so little influenced by what trend might be elbowing itself forward on the writing campuses. Osman is a worldly and acutely sensitive writer who knows how to reach right through the sequined veil of fashion and put her hand squarely on the reader’s heart, with frank and candid expression, with unaffected wonder.”—from Ted Kooser’s preface to Ladan Osman’s chapbook, Ordinary Heaven
 

“[Ladan Osman] writes out of a passion for language, out of a compelling pleasure and challenge in the potential of the voice to humanize us, or perhaps even better, to affirm our humanity. Osman is a warrior poet, and she is dangerous because she is especially gifted and disciplined about her craft, her technical facility with the poem. This collection offers numerous examples of this skillfulness.”—from the foreword by Kwame Dawes

“True visionary poets are very rare. Ladan Osman is one. What she sees is extraordinary, and needful.”—Brigit Pegeen Kelly, author of Song and The Orchard

Table of Contents

Foreword by Kwame Dawes    
Acknowledgments    
Silhouette
I
Ordinary Heaven    
Words We Lost in the Water    
Unsolicited Witness    
To Abel    
Sugar    
Section 8    
The Key    
First Red Dress    
Admonitions    
Twigs    
Verse of Hairs    
My Father Drops His Larynx    
Denotation    
Connotation    
Parable of the Leaf    
How to Make a Shadow    
II
Intangible Quality    
Women Brewing    
Diviner of Teacups    
The Kitchen-Dweller Presents Evidence    
Trouble    
Her House Is the Middle East    
That Which Scatters and Breaks Apart    
Invocation    
The Kitchen-Dweller’s Interlude    
The Kitchen-Dweller Testifies    
Desertion    
The Offended Tongue    
When the Fire Is Not Enough    
Clearing the Land    
Situations Wanted    
The Figures    
Convoluted Mattress    
Water    
For the Woman Whose Love Is a Bird of Passage    
The Man Who Puts Dirt on His Head    
III
The Glass Images    
To the Angel of Accounts on a Holy Night    
Tonight    
Visitant    
The Pilgrims    
Woman, Ego, Shadow    
The Woman in the Field    
Gnats    
Apparition One, Apparition Two    
Amber Doll    
Ken    
Hotel Party    
Princess Di in an Afterlife    
My Brother Receives His Kingdom under a Tree    
Proud Flesh    
The Albatross Holds a Note in Her Bill    
The Trumpet Testifies    
Following the Horn’s Call    
The Beetle    
A Dove Sings for Young Lovers    
Western Gate    

Awards

Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

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