Your Crib, My Qibla
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Author: Saddiq Dzukogi
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (2021)
Your Crib, My Qibla interrogates loss, the death of a child, and a father’s pursuit of language able to articulate grief. In these poems, the language of memory functions as a space of mourning, connecting the dead with the world of the living. Culminating in an imagined dialogue between the father and his deceased daughter in the intricate space of the family, Your Crib, My Qibla explores grief, the fleeting nature of healing, and the constant obsession of memory as a language to reach the dead.
“In Saddiq Dzukogi’s Your Crib, My Qibla, the loss of his daughter becomes the navigational pull to an interiority steeped in earthly grief and a desire for the unseen spaces of the afterlife. With incredible fidelity Dzukogi unravels a series of poems that wrestle with his loss and make meaning of our most unbearable moments. His is a song of embodied witness and recollection shaped by a voice skilled in the musicality of duality. These are poems that find their way to the reader’s depth and open a window to the otherworld.”
“‘Where your headstone was, I put a mirror, / each time I come to visit / I see that you live in my face,’ writes Saddiq Dzukogi in this heartbreaking, powerful collection of poems. A love song, an elegy, a book-long sequence, Your Crib, My Qibla is a parent’s epistles to a deceased child, an exploration of pain that continues to sing through pain (‘your songs endure // inside his bones. / They will nourish the loneliness— / yours and his.’). The mourning here is endless and yet transformative (‘Today Baha is not dead; she is six years old, / forcing marshmallows into his mouth. / Says I’m grown enough to feed you, Abba, / with the future’). Impossible not to be moved by this voice of a father who sees a dead child’s face everywhere (‘He presses a deep kiss on your grave, / on your forehead’), by this need to pull the dead out of the ground. This is a stunning, memorable book.”
“Saddiq Dzukogi’s Your Crib, My Qibla signals the arrival of a poet of assured craft, of courageous sentiment, and one who possesses a capacious facility with language and musicality. In this collection Dzukogi offers an elegy to innocence and to the false security of the living, and yet he demonstrates that the art of lamentation is as forceful an expression of hope as we have available to us. This is a remarkable introduction to a poet for our moment and time.”