Objects from April and May

Zena Agha


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Hajar Press
14 April 2022
ISBN: 9781914221125
92 pages

From the publisher

Meditations on treasure and mourning—and why our belongings can matter so deeply.

Finalist for the Alice James Book Award 2020, the Omnidawn First/Second Book Prize 2020 & the Philip Levine Poetry Prize 2020.


‘A moving collection written with love and defiance.’ — Isabella Hammad, author of The Parisian

‘Heartbreaking and gorgeous, Objects from April and May explores the richness of life’s fleeting yet monumental moments, where everything is at stake.’ — Heba Hayek, author of Sambac Beneath Unlikely Skies

‘Rich in memory, thought and materiality … Objects from April and May shows a serious conviction; a yearning for an alternative version of what is, and an imagining of what’s also possible.’ — Anthony Anaxagorou, author of After the Formalities

‘Zena Agha’s poems shape-shift … in an ongoing attempt to inventory what has gone missing: a stolen talisman and the lost homeland that it signified.’ — Ken Chen, author of Juvenilia

‘A book which feels “materially in the world”, whose poems-as-talismans can’t be stolen or lost, because they’re really alive.’ — Will Harris, author of RENDANG


Objects from April and May is a rumination on the sanctity and significance of cherished possessions. Informed by the loss of precious gold in an armed robbery, these poems trace each taken item across years and borders, from a supermarket in Brooklyn to a checkpoint in Occupied Palestine to an American compound in Iraq. Yet they return, irrevocably, to a violent interaction on a quiet street in Oakland, California, gathering its shattered fragments.

Formally inventive and politically astute, Zena Agha’s poems bristle with a controlled melancholy. As she unspools one traumatic encounter and its reverberations, she shows how much material loss can teach us about love, attachment and sorrow.