Published by Inner Child Press, Breakfast for Butterflies is the twenty-first collection of poems written by poet Faleeha Hassan, and the first published in English.
Born in Iraq and now living in the New Jersey, Faleeha Hassan is a poet, teacher, editor, writer, and playwright. She has received many awards in Iraq and throughout the Middle East for her poetry and short stories, was the first to write poetry for children in Iraq, and has been described as the “Maya Angelou of Iraq.” Her work has been published in many literary journals, including Empty Mirror.
Edited by poet Hülya N. Yılmaz with a cover design by poet William S. Peters Sr., the Breakfast for Butterflies is dedicated to Mr. Hamid Talo, a Yazidi man who loved his daughters more than life itself.
Faleeha Hassan says,
It is possible for a poet to walk and sleep alone, and he or she can also live alone. But, in my opinion, he or she cannot eat alone. That is why I sit on my balcony every morning and share my breakfast with the birds and the squirrels. Then, I often wonder what breakfast would be like for the butterflies that fly nearby.
So, I have decided to create poems for butterflies to taste and enjoy. I am sorry if war has turned the flavor of my poetry collection in this book bitter. It has, after all, distorted my life.
The book’s editor, Hülya N. Yılmaz says,
Each verse in Breakfast for Butterflies — Hassan’s debut English poetry collection — transported me into the author’s reality, an existential sphere with which every reader should try to come to terms. For me, this process will be pending for the rest of my remaining days.
It is not that Hassan sugar-coats any of the horrific occurrences her loved ones and she herself has lived during and after the war in their homeland. Not at all. Like with her debut anthology of short stories, the author implements also in this book a literary voice that has its roots in the realist tradition. However, the style within which Hassan weaves the many gruesome consequences of war at large, does not yield to any emotional reaction beneath her remarkable inner strength.
As her poems unfold before our eyes, we cannot help but see the self-empowered story-teller rise up, determined not only to survive but thrive as well from under any damage any war could possibly implant on anyone. In this unyielding confidence and competence lies the triumph of Hassan’s largely sardonic poems.
Outside of a few mechanical touches to ease, for the reader, the minor challenges that a dual-culture-dictated and dual-language-specific writing structure unavoidably presents, Breakfast for Butterflies has been respectfully preserved in its original form of creation by the author.
You can find Faleeha Hassan on Twitter @Fh88D.