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Operator: August 2021 Sealey Challenge Edition

Tomorrow marks the first day of August, kicking off #TheSealeyChallenge a month-long reading marathon started by Nicole Sealey. Each day of the month, participants are tasked with reading a different collection of poetry start to finish. Though many participants don't quite make it 30 for 30, this communal social media challenge gets everyone re-energized about clearing their book backlog. So, instead of connecting you to events this month, we wanted to connect you with a few of the books we can't wait to tackle or revisit this year!


  1. Heed the Hollow by Malcolm Tariq: Having recently been able to hear Malcolm read as a part of the New York City Poetry Festival, I can tell you that these poems twist form and lyric to reckon with the warped world that historical trauma faced by Black and queer people across the country, with special attention to the American south. Part historical archive, part stunning lyric, part comedic wordplay, the book promises to sing with electric connections from line to line and poem to poem.

  2. Birthright by George Abraham: As a pandemic baby, this debut full-length collection from George Abraham didn't get the fanfare of an in-person launch party or tour. George's work is as intricate as it is intimate – the attention paid to every detail of diction and punctuation maps out a clear geography of Palestinian life, both under occupation and in diaspora. Particularly following the public evictions in Jerusalem and subsequent outcry, this book gives voice to the ongoing experiences of Palestinians, whether or not international focus is on them.

  3. Sin: Selected poems of Forugh Farrokhzad: It always feels risky and indulgent to include a collected works in the tight timeline of the challenge. Farrokhzad's work takes the notions of risk and indulgence to the next level: from writing under her real name at a time when it was custom for Iranian poets to use pen names, to the naked, lyric reflections on intimacy in the titular poem, this book feels like a perfect, daring addition to the challenge reading list.


Now, everyone has to choose their own book list, so we don't want to overwhelm you with suggestions. From chapbooks to translations to re-reading old favorites, there's no wrong way to do the challenge, except not to do it at all! Let us know what you're reading over on twitter @LandlineLit


Wishing you a comfortable and well-lit reading spot!

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