Tracy Fuad is a poet and the author of two chapbooks: DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD (TxtBooks, 2019) and PITH (Newfound, 2020). Her forthcoming poetry collection, about:blank, will be published in October 2021 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. It was named as a finalist in the National Poetry Series awards and selected by poet Claudia Rankine as the winner of the Donald Hall Prize.
Fuad’s writing layers intimate personal narratives with wider explorations of political identity, imagination, anxiety, and grief. The sprawling poem IT WAS ALL captures Fuad’s ability to move fluidly between different subject matter and poetic voices. In a stream-of-consciousness style, Fuad confronts a sense of generational dread about impending climate catastrophes. “There was nothing tragic about our coming disappearance from the planet, others said, and I assented, but when alone, I couldn’t entirely accept this,” she writes.
An interest in experimentation is paramount to Fuad’s practice, and she continues to engage the technique of found poetry. Many of the poems in PITH are composed entirely of sentences borrowed from an English grammar book Fuad used in Kurdistan. The poem My Uncle’s Kurdish Restaurant is constructed from Yelp and Google reviews of Kurdish restaurants in the United States. In this appropriation, Fuad co-opts syntax and vocabulary, thus laying bare the attitudes that confront marginalized groups. She dissects benign consumer language (“not overly spicy, not overly overwhelming”), and in doing so, constructs a defiant technique that balances between the literary and the political. “A capitalist society values invention, individuality, novelty, newness over what is recycled, reused, repurposed,” remarks Fuad in an interview with poet Henry Goldkamp for the online magazine Big Other. “I think I am more interested in poetics as a sort of uncovering, an excavation or drawing out rather than the building of new monuments.” Fuad’s multifaceted poetry is admirably ambitious. In its desire to both play with and against technology, it offers an arsenal of perspectives from which to assess contemporary life.
During her time at Callie’s, Fuad worked on a lyrical novel set in a dystopian future in a small town in Iraqi Kurdistan, loosely based on the town she moved to after earning her MFA. While in residence, Fuad also co-facilitated a two-month long poetry workshop hosted at , Callie’s sister bookshop. In June and July of 2021, the workshop participants met weekly to critically engage with one another’s writing. The workshop culminated in a .