These Wild Houses
Series 2, book 3 of 10
“This is not a definitive statement on Islam. This is not a definitive statement on Arab identity, not Arab Australian identity, not bisexuality, not even Western Sydney. It is a statement – an exploration of me and what I’ve seen.” – Omar Sakr
Read Judith Beveridge’s introduction to These Wild Houses.
"These Wild Houses tests out the poetics of demotic language, combining thoughtful commentary with moments of sentiment and moments of rage. Both incisive and decisive, it offers a forensic examination of Arab Australian masculinities, and the effect of place and politics and desire. At times skilfully restrained, at others powerfully unbound, passion often salted with little flares of mirth, this intelligent and exciting collection speaks out, and powerfully articulates, twenty-first century urban identities."
“Sakr writes about his immigrant experience in Australia, his life as a bisexual Muslim, environmental destruction, the everyday racism he encounters, and the larger issue of systemic racism in Australia... He explores family, tradition, place, and marginalization with breathy lines that end in small punches to the gut.”
“Sakr’s work is vital: it is the here and now even as it speaks of and to eternity. Like the word emblazoned briefly across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and chalked in gorgeous copperplate across the pavements of his hometown, his poetry is merely a finite gesture towards the infinite: but what a glorious, breathtaking, and magnificently-human gesture it is.”
“This first collection confronts us with emotionally complex and often ambiguous poetry that belies a simple reading, claims considerable territory for itself and demonstrates Sakr’s ambition and ability.”
“Sakr permits us to mine his personal store of images as they arise, like the phoenix, out of suburban conflict. The poetry, politics and history scorch a new path in Australian poetry.”
“These Wild Houses has a reader-centredness that at once invites and resists intimacy. The poems seem like direct tellings, where ‘you’ feature. At the same time, the collection is inward-looking – a playful and skilled balance Sakr strikes through his storyelling and linguistic incisiveness.”