"Mikhail’s fourth book of poetry to appear in English, In Her Feminine Sign, differs from her previous collections in that she wrote this book in both Arabic and English, “from right to left and from left to right.” She didn’t translate her poems, nor did she have a translator; she actually wrote the poems twice."
"In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems." Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested in past reviews, rests with poets who seem hell-bent on insulating their art from the community at large, which is why Dunya Mikhail’s work, which work sin so much the opposite manner, is always such a pleasure. It’s enough to get me screaming back into the void.
"This moral clarity, carrying through the two distinct parts of her work, makes Diary of a Wave outside the Seaa peerless record of the Iraq wars. There is much to learn from and reflect upon, especially for those of us who are Americans, in Mikhail’s beautiful and stirring genre-bending poem."
"Reading Dunya Mikhail's lyrical and poetic memoir Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea is like diving into a watery, dreamy world. One must leave behind rationale, urges for temporal grounding and a reliance on facts. Mikhail pulls you into her impressionistic world like a strong tide, tossing the reader about with strong visuals, sensitive perspectives, poetic questions, snippets, and philosophic observations:"
"As the first translation of poems by a female Iraqi poet to be published in the United States, The War Works Hard is a timely book, equipped to meet the demands of those readers who expect from poetry the kind of relevance that William Carlos Williams had in mind when he wrote, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet men die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.”
Mikhail's personification has special ironic form...It approaches the subject of violent destruction with cutting wit, fierce humor, and brave humanity.