Threa Almontaser is a Yemini American poet. Her poetry is an incisive exploration of a life lived between two cultures. Her poems are littered with Arabic words, which alienate English-speaking readers from their own language. She refers in her work to her own sense of alienation caused by the hostile attitude of fellow Americans after the 9/11 attacks, as in the poem Hunting Girliness, where she writes: ‘(I) wore the city’s hatred as hijab’. In many of her poems she criticises conventional ideas about femininity in light of the violence that occurs in all kinds of situations around the world. The vulnerability of the body facing ideological oppression is also starkly underlined in Almontaser’s work. In physical reality, life in two languages plays a major role. She contrasts the language of our consumerist world – devour, taste, swallow – with the story of Yemen, the hunger, the conflict and her parents’ history. Almontaser’s persuasively perceptive poetry prompts us to think anew about language and culture, roots and destination.
Almontaser is the author of the poetry collection Wild Fox of Yemen (Graywolf, 2021), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets as well as numerous other accolades. The Guardian called this book "A dazzling exploration of a life caught between different cultures."