Poet & Critic—

Chapbooks

chap·book / ‘ CHap , bōōk /

A small pamphlet containing tales, ballads, or tracts, sold by peddlers.

Chapbook is first attested in English in 1824, and seems to derive from the word for the itinerant salesmen who would sell such books: chapman. The first element of chapman comes in turn from Old English cēap (‘barter, business, dealing’) from which the modern adjective cheap was subsequently derived.

praise for HERE I AM O MY GOD

Selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship

Here I am O My God is a spiritual text laden with swerves, gravity, and tragicomedy. It’s an echo of the Abrahamic contract with the divine concerning the eternally elemental we each carry within. It’s an echo of the Abrahamic contract with the divine concerning the eternally elemental we each carry within… Dujie Tahat is not a faith-based poet but a poet whose faith enlarges his conversation with the world and himself. Even in the last poem, we are returned to a child’s breath, an air that “wasn’t ever / supposed to be there.” But here it is, O my God.” —Fady Joudah

praise for SALAT

Winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Award and Finalist for 2020 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection

Salat is boisterously, resoundingly alive” —Kaveh Akbar

“What Tahat accomplishes in Salat is defiant, sweeping, exemplary.” —Alina Stefanescu (for Gasher)

“Tahat’s poems call us back in to ourselves and the hearts of those who survive in us.” —Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

“Ameen indeed to this moving collection that contemplates what it means to belong and be other, to be child and father, to be human and holy, to mourn and praise.” —Zeina Hashem Beck

Salat bestrides the space between poem and prayer, between the ideal of this country and what is truly measured out daily. I would call it a survival guide in verse, except these poems contain the same energy and power as the tree that splits the rock.” —Cornelius Eady

“What I love most about prayer are the small movements within assigned rituals, and the ways people make those movements their own. And so, I am thankful for Salat, these poems that add language and beauty to those movements. That add history, image, and narrative flair. Dujie Tahat weaves all of these things together like a song, sommoning people to a holy space.” —Hanif Abdurraqib

“In SALAT, there are rituals and then there are rituals; prayer and then prayer; poetry and then poetry. Tahat’s work plays both within and outside of these definitions to create a new poetic space that, like a father’s hands, holds them all.” —Alli Cruz (for Pleiades)

“Refusing to resolve grief and celebration, sacred and ordinary, irreverence and sincerity, Tahat’s book gives the impression that it continues past its ending. The sitting, standing, prostrating, worshipping, repeat again and again, not contained to one body, one instance, one page. The point of the ritual is not to provide a monotonous, predictable foundation, but to offer a set of movements that are available in all instances.—Sara Judy (for The Adroit Journal)

praise for BALIKBAYAN

Finalist for The New Michigan Press / DIAGRAM Chapbook Contest and Center for Book Arts Honoree

“Like its namesake, Balikbayan holds dear life’s extraordinary essentials. Which is to say, this is a collection of shape-shifting care packages: poems as reminders of what sustains us; poems that bear witness to needful defiance; poems of generosity and grit. As Audre Lorde would “make, demand, translate” everyday beauty to build an “arsenal against despair,” Dujie Tahat transfigures hand-me-downs and home-made remixes, “bright trinkets” and love notes and wildflowers. How fortunate we are to read these gifts—to be carried safely beyond “…The Unfathomable News That Every Thing We’ve Ever Known Will Shortly Be On Fire” toward new dreams, new forms.” —R.A. Villanueva

“I love these poems. They are pasalubong from that distant cousin who somehow knows you as intimately as you know yourself.” —Angela Garbes

“In Dujie Tahat’s latest work, they speak of a longing that cannot merely be erased through the accumulation of things. Tahat questions our insistence in the economy of our grief by constructing delicate, jewel-like memory boxes. And in the moment when we open these gifts, we are offered a chance to return to a home that is within ourselves.” —Oliver de la Paz

“Reading Dujie Tahat’s Balikbayan is a synesthetic experience. Every line folds and unfolds on its scores, revealing each poem’s crisp and dolorous music. This collection is an innovative wonder—to borrow Tahat’s words, here there are “no blemishes.” Only “bloom.”” —Janine Joseph

“With invention and verve, Tahat packs and packs each balikbayan box to gift us history and tsimis and music and grief, memory and flowers and anger and forgiveness and legacy. These boxes are of and for kasama and pamilya—not limited by borders or time or space.” —Michelle Peñaloza

“What Dujie Tahat is able to do with multiple languages (English, Tagalog, Taglish, Hip Hop) is surreal and only further proves this entanglement that only they are able to deliver so gracefully. One of the most compelling collections of poetry I’ve ever come across.” —Ebo Barton


Photographer: Sonja Lyons