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Book Review: 
Letters I Left Her

Review by: 
Taylor Byas (she/her)
PhD Candidate - University of Cincinnati
Assistant Features Editor at The Rumpus


Sarah Al Zuraiqi’s Letters I Left Her is the junction where “confusion / and confession” meet, the crossroad in which the speaker spins her life lessons into poetic missives to her past and future selves. These poems are elegiac, mourning the loss of both romantic love and the self. And yet these elegies double as a guidebook for the speaker’s future survival, for how to go on when heartbreak inevitably returns. In the collection’s titular poem, Al Zuraiqi writes “tell her I found the letters – they’re somewhere buried beneath all / of the times we spoke our devotions into oblivion.” Al Zuraiqi not only imagines a future in which she returns to her own epistolary ghosts, but she wills herself into it, past the grief. This collection reminds us of our own emotional complexity as humans, our ability to look back longingly at the past while taking steady steps forwards, towards hope and healing.

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