Sisters’ Entrance is a poetry collection by Emtithal Mahmoud and was published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on May 29th, 2018.
Sisters’ Entrance is a collection of reality, brutal but honest reality, and the emotions of a woman who lived through that reality herself.
“Belief is not transferable, but, not unlike guilt, it burns brightly by association.”
This collection covers almost everything that’s wrong with our world because of the few humans gone wrong. Genocide, bombings, violence, and struggle against them–these are just the topics touched in the first part of the collection. You can only imagine what the latter parts bring. The horror of living in a war zone and the helplessness that a person feels when they can’t do anything but watch people die. Justifiably, belief and faith, and the guilt that comes along with them, is talked about in the first part too. Both the themes act hand-in-hand but not actually in hand with each other. And that’s what pulls you right in.
The second part deals with another set of woman-ly problems and the passed down lessons that are taught to the little girls. Virginity and the myths surrounding it, how the myths can create a set of standards that a girl needs to follow, even if it costs the girl a lot, is one of the many issues. Dowry, early marriage, and domestic abuse are written about. The entire viewpoint of the society when it comes to keeping up with relationships or adjusting according to someone else, makes this collection more realistic. Among these, rape is talked about too–not only rape before marriage, but rape after marriage too, and probable rape during a woman’s entire life–a vivid nightmare, no doubt.
“he’ll flatten the ridges of her spine
and she’ll hold her tongue
bite the screams as they come
wipe the tears before the blood dries
no one ever talks to the bride.”
Not only this, Sisters’ Entrance lays out the unknown abuse that a woman bears from her own family. The jokes about women that are laughed off during a family gathering or being touched by brothers in a way brothers are not supposed to touch you. These overlooked topics won my heart instantly because the poet did an excellent job in highlighting stuff that’s not usually said but needs to be said nonetheless.
The third part takes the collection to a higher level by exposing an immigrants feelings when they leave behind their land and home to start anew, only to find themselves not belonging on this foreign land. Similarly, refugees who cross borders in hope of finding peace only to suffer a war woven into society against ‘our own’. The poems are able to convey the struggle clearly and definitely helps the readers take away something, even if it’s a harsh reality.
“The life of a refugee is counted in moments.”
Misogyny and patriarchal problems are spoken about too. The last part deals with the religion, Islam, itself and the views of a Muslim and the world regarding a religion. The savage actions that people take against a specific group, whether for their skin color, their religion, their citizenship, or for the clothes they wear, is embarrassingly true. The poems give me courage to read about these happenings, which is very much-needed since the world has ignored these doings for long enough.
“And this hijab was not a death sentence.
Ans this skin was not a death sentence.
And refugees did not mean nothing.
And Muslim bodies did not mean less.”
This poetry collection can enlighten you, empower you, and engage you with people, incidents and places of the world that you didn’t already know about but should be knowing.
Trigger Warnings: genocide, bombings, violence, death, death threats, mourning, sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, dowry, early marriage, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, religious opinions, immigrant problems, refugees, misogyny, patriarchy.
I received a digital copy of this via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you so much Emtithal Mahmoud and Andrews McMeel Publishing!