For My FatherAmira Thoron • poetry • $16

Did I pluck my images from your skin? Is it your moon

I write about, your voice that pours through my tongue

that seeps into my skin like soil following the seam in a stone?

Part memoir, part ghost story, “For My Father” by Amira Thoron,
examines the territory of grief and memory, its mysteries and silences. Through poems that are at times lyrical and at times spare, she explores what it means to be haunted by what you cannot remember or never knew.

Amira Thoron was born in Cairo, Egypt and raised in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts where she spent summers with her paternal grandmother. She received her BA in English from Brown University and her MFA in Poetry from The New School. She lives in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard. This is her first book.

This book is a requiem. It is also a house. Each room is elegant and spare but with a feral grief coming in at every opening. For My Father, by Amira Thoron, is the debut of a poet with both exquisite technical skill and acute emotional perception.


The speaker of these poems directly addresses the father who vanished and her yearning for him ("I want to know you by touch"). She reckons with the legacy of a beloved and distant grandmother whose affection was felt in the order she established and whose own grief and rage could only be expressed after she was dead ("Today, she tried to kill me with the meat cleaver. / Left me slumped over the sink / with only two more potatoes to peel...") She also acknowledges the death we each carry within ourselves ("I am full of leaves").  She asks the only question that matters in the wake of death, where we are young forever in our loss - "did you ever love me?" This book is in many ways about the wilderness that can't be avoided with our human efforts at ordering. Thoron accepts the artist's responsibility - to find the technique and courage to speak, even in the depths of savage grief ("I chose a cord / for my throat, / a tightening / against words / or was it / words / themselves / which coiled / around / my throat / and tugged / until / I would speak").”

  1. -Laura Cronk, poet and author of Having Been an Accomplice

Photo of Amira and Publisher Jack Estes upon the occasion of the presentation of her book.