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Hedy Habra
Tea in Heliopolis
by Hedy Habra

Silver Concho Poetry Series

ISBN 978-1-935708-76-6

9 x 6 paperback, 100 pages
Hedy Habra was born in Egypt and is of Lebanese origin. She is the author of Tea in Heliopolis, winner of the 2014 USA Best Book Award for Poetry and finalist for the International Book Award for Poetry. Her collection of short fiction, Flying Carpets, won a 2013 Arab American National Book Award's Honorable Mention, and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award and the USA Best Book Award. Her book of literary criticism, Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa, explores the visual and interartistic elements in the Peruvian novelist’s characters’ interiority. She has an M.A. and an M.F.A. in English and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish literature, all from Western Michigan University, where she currently teaches and received the All-University Research and Creative Scholar Award and a Doctoral Dissertation Completion Fellowship Award. She is a recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award and was finalist for the Pablo Neruda Award. She writes poetry and fiction in French, Spanish, and English and has numerous poems and short stories in journals and anthologies, including The Bitter Oleander, Blue Fifth Review, Cider Press Review, Connotation Press, Cutthroat, Diode, Drunken Boat, Levure Littéraire, New York Quarterly, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Solstice, Pirene’s Fountain, Letras Femeninas, Alba de América and Verse Daily. She has poems forthcoming in Cimarron ReviewGargoyle and World Literature Today. Her website is
Cover art by Hedy Habra. Cover design by Paul Sizer.
Praise for Tea in Heliopolis
“The poems of Tea in Heliopolis form the story of a family, sometimes tragic, sometimes searingly beautiful, and always exotic, seen through the eyes of a painter. The trope of life, as moments flowing from the paintbrush wielded skillfully by a poet, allows Hedy Habra to capture details redolent of old masters, exquisite and visceral, and creates her remembered world with the wild imagination and color of a Van Gogh. Moving through life in Egypt, to Beirut, then to America, with a kind of post-Newtonian sense of everything happening simultaneously, the chronicle captures the bravery it takes to remember and yet experience a beauty transcendent to pain. This is a remarkable book of poetry.” 
Diane Wakowski, author of Emerald Ice

“Hedy Habra's hospitable poems, lush with intricate landscapes of relating and remembering, are so rich they make me homesick. Here are worlds, both ancient and modern, spun and sung in shining wonder.” 
Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Transfer

“From Egypt to Lebanon to the freshwater coastline of Michigan, Hedy Habra's Tea in Heliopolis is a collection full of ancestral gestures, sensual imaginings, and songs turning unerringly into legend. Shapely, timeless lyrics that range from continent to continent, past to present, with a wisdom born of Rita Hayworth, African drums, and almond trees, Habra has a knack of turning phrases that make us reconsider our own place on earth. And in a prodigious and moving poem like ‘Raoucheh,’ she gives voice to a forcibly silenced people as only a true poet can. This is a necessary and rhapsodic book of poems.”
Ravi Shankar, author of Instrumentality

(from Tea in Heliopolis)

Now a mural,
the page stretches,
calling for paint,
brushes, a ladder.
Words with clipped wings
scattered here and there, 
thrown in haste 
as you rush
into a lover’s arms. 
Two androgynous silhouettes 
in an elegant tango, 
twist and turn, 
limbs bent in unison. 

Later, when light after light
has been put out, 
when oak branches brush
roofs and windows, filling 
the house with murmurs,
when every sound
is a menace,
you rest in inkwell darkness.  
Feathers escape their cotton 
prison, circle 
like maddened fireflies
bonfire sparks, 
you think of midnight 
rides in a Felukah
along the glistening Nile, 
of the way timid lovers
write ephemeral messages, 
with their lighted cigarettes.
A cloud of down 
fills the room,
schools of flashing fish
on the walls of your waking.
Following a ray of moon,
you yearn 
for a sliver of diamond,  
reach for paper, pen, to keep 
the vision alive,
but it melts into water, vanishes 
as you hold on tight to your
feather pillow.

Cover art by Hedy Habra. Cover design by Paul Sizer.
Under Brushstrokes
by Hedy Habra

Silver Concho Poetry Series

ISBN: 978-1-941209-23-3

9 x 6 paperback, 106 pages
(from Under Brushstrokes)

I am no longer this little boy who ran away at night to milk the moon and stars. What am I to do if the ladder is broken, leaving golden threads dangling in broad daylight, braided rays of hardened light yet fine as silk spun by a silkworm, once linking me to that lost site of fearless joys? But I will send back the stardust I fed on for so long. Now you know why I study the Almanac, awaiting for the right day and time when wheat is ripe, reaching high into those rays of light. You know why I’m here, in the midst of this field, dressed in my Sunday clothes: I will pull these gilded chords as those of a tower bell ringing above beckoning a gift filled with the substance of dreams, wrapped with Queen Mab’s veils. Don’t fear it is too heavy: it weighs less than a breath or a sigh. Let the wind blow softly, watch it rise to the top with your eyes closed.

Order both, Under Brushstrokes and Tea in Heliopolis for $24.90! That's like getting shipping for free!
Combo           $24.90
Praise for Under Brushstrokes

In the poem "Brushstrokes," Hedy Habra writes "the painter raises inexorably the level of the waters, and the woman knows... she will only be fulfilled by drowning in the torrent." The poems, in verse and prose, in Habra's new collection, Under Brushstrokes, pay homage to the transformative power of art in the most authentic way possible—by demonstrating it.
Stuart Dybek, author of Ecstatic Cahoots and Paper Lantern

The poems in Hedy Habra’s Under Brushstrokes amount to something more sweeping than simple ekphrasis. She makes no attempt to describe works of art, but instead uses them as points of departure for explorations of the dreaming psyche. The resulting meditations, often adopting the genre of prose poetry, retain the colorful imagery we expect in visual art, expressed in a language as precise as it is vivid. One senses throughout a constructive awareness of literary and artistic culture in several traditions.
Alfred Corn, author of Tables

Hedy Habra’s Under Brushstrokes is a rich tapestry of images, sounds and meanings. Like any tapestry the complexity of weaving, the craft and artistry are often under or subliminal to the larger images, and in this way the book lives up to its title in that there is so much foundation that goes into the building of an image and giving the image not only meanings but breath and life itself. Enjoy Under Brushstrokes, it is meant to be read and read again.
J.P. Dancing Bear, editor of The American Poetry Review

Under Brushstrokes is an astonishing collection of poems responding to art. Through Habra’s accomplished pen, these ekphrastic poems create an immediate world of rich textures and image, giving the reader intimate access to such diverse talents as Klimt, Guccione, Bosch, Tanning, and Hokusai. She explores the stages of art—from thought to modeling to canvas—revealing the layered connections between the individual and art itself. These are poems of depth and skill, of beauty and paradox, of “words suffused / in linseed oil,” as Habra writes—a marvel of a work.
Sam Rasnake, editor of Blue Fifth Review
Praise from a reader...

The first poem in Hedy Habra's Under Brushstrokes was inviting, the second was captivating... I read the poems in one sitting... in sequence 'til there were no more. Her poems are a profusion of words, meaningful, expressive and effectual, evoking deeply felt images. I immediately went out and bought her first book of poetry, Tea in Heliopolis... the earlier experience was joyously repeated.

—Mark Hockmuth