My Body Can House Two Hearts by Hanan Issa
2018 Pamphlet Winner
My Body Can House Two Hearts skips across the fragile boundaries of history, culture, relationships, and language. It explores the transitory balance of belonging by tying threads between different places and ideas not often compared. Traverse the poet’s perception of her Welsh and Iraqi heritage, her positioning as a woman of colour, and the nuances of feminist action. Hanan Issa's debut is a celebration of women’s redemptive interdependency and the rejection of patriarchal power.
'As the opening poem reveals, Hanan Issa has a vantage point that enables her to see both near and far. It lets her draw the links betwee Hen Wlad fy Nhadau and Baghdad, Fallujah and Aberfan. Reading on from these first lines we hear how the Cymraeg and Arabic ‘ch’ chime together, and see how Edwards is Daqneesh’s brother, and how one body can house two hearts.
This unique collection shows that Welsh, Arabic and English flow side by side and sometimes share the same waters. It contains verses that bring flamenco, ballet and bhangra to a common dance floor. It reminds us that ‘love’s a lake and the world is thirsty’. - MERERID HOPWOOD
Hanan Issa is a mixed-race poet from Wales. She has performed at numerous events across the UK and her work has been featured on both ITV Wales and BBC Radio Wales. Her work has been published in Banat Collective, Hedgehog Press, Sukoon mag, Lumin, sister-hood magazine and MuslimGirl.com. Her winning monologue was performed at Bush Theatre’s Hijabi Monologues. She is the co-founder of Cardiff’s first BAME open mic series ‘Where I’m Coming From’. She is also one of the 2018 Hay Writers at Work.