This book has taken a long time writing. Amerah has long been a fundamental part of the burgeoning Birmingham poetry scene – producing, mentoring, making things happen in the city. She is a wise old poetry head in the body of a young woman. She has rarely put her own incredible poetry first.
And yet here it is, in book form at last.
I Am Not From Here is a collection that twists and turns through the complexities of being Birmingham born but of Yemeni decent and culture; of being Muslim in a city of mixed faiths and in a country of little faith; of spending time in Yemen only to find that as a result you are refused entry to other countries and have forgotten how to live in yours; of losing loved ones too young (and when are we ever old enough for that?); of being split between the language and words of two tongues, and often finding that neither has the words you need; of facing hatred for acts that were none of your doing, and inner turmoil as your mind and body seek the solace and comfort of belonging to enable you to turn and face the world.
This book contains and engages with all this. That it doesn’t burst is down to the unique and unifying voice of Amerah’s poetry. Brimming with emotion, anger, frustration, grief and love – the beauty of the imagery, the often breath-taking turns of phrase, the soaring imagination, the gently woven structure, all help to turn the torments and confusion of a fractured experience into something unique and compelling. Amerah, against so many odds, has achieved something whole here – a complete and vibrant piece of work.
A consummate performer of great skill and passion, we know that hearing Amerah read these poems will take them to another level again. We can hardly wait!
Amerah was a Podium Poet at the first Verve Festival in 2017. She was also pivotal in its formation, and hosted events in 2017 & 2018. She also was Co-founder of Verve Poetry Press – sits on its advisory board – and produced their first full single author collection in 2018. Pretty important then!
Date: 19th April 2018
Extent: 80 pp