Book Review

Sisters’ Entrance

Sisters’ EntranceSisters’ Entrance
Author: Emtithal Mahmoud
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
First Published: May 29, 2018
Genres: Memoir, Poetry, Politics
Pages: 128
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley


2015 World Poetry Slam Champion and Woman of the World co-Champion Emtithal "Emi" Mahmoud presents her hauntingly beautiful debut poetry collection.

Brimming with rage, sorrow, and resilience, this collection traverses an expansive terrain: genocide; diaspora; the guilt of surviving; racism and Islamophobia; the burdens of girlhood; the solace of sisterhood; the innocence of a first kiss. Heart-wrenching and raw, defiant and empowering, Sisters’ Entrance explores how to speak the unspeakable.

Warnings: Violence, Racism, Islamophobia, Trauma

I’ve struggled to gather my thoughts on this collection, I was just so blown away and overwhelmed by the emotions elicited by this book. The poetry collected here comes from a very personal place for the author, who is a Sudanese refugee that survived the war and genocide in Darfur.

Some poems were heavy and spoke of her traumatic experiences such as in People Like Us and The Bride. Others, like Why I Haven’t Told You Yet, were more light-hearted but still carry a strong message. All of these poems pulled together shape the author, her family, her experiences, and her outlook on life.

Emi is very mature for her age and writes beautifully. She is truly a remarkable young woman and I hope that she has a long career in writing ahead of her. The author has done a TED Talk about her experience with genocide that is absolutely worth watching. This book is invaluable for the reflections and memory history within its pages, this is a harrowing but ultimately hopeful read that I want to scream I wish that this book was talked about more.

“When you build nations on someone’s bones
what sense does it make to break them?”

About Emtithal Mahmoud

Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud is a Sudanese-American poet and activist, who won the 2015 Individual World Poetry Slam championship. In 2018, she became UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and in this capacity, has traveled to refugee camps in Kenya, Greece and Jordan, drawing wider attention to the situation of refugees.

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