Publisher: Metonymy Press
Released: September 21, 2021
Swinging from post-explosion Beirut to a Montreal balcony in summer, the verse and prose poems in The Good Arabs ground the reader in place, language, and the body. Peeling and rinsing radishes. Dancing as a pre-teen to Nancy Ajram. Being drenched in stares on the city bus. The collection is an interlocking and rich offering of the speaker’s communities, geographical surroundings both expansive and precise, and family both biological and chosen.
The Good Arabs gifts the reader with insight into cycles and repetition in ourselves and our broken nations. This genre-defying collection maps Arab and trans identity through the immensity of experience felt in one body, the sorrow of citizens let down by their countries, and the garbage crisis in Lebanon. Ultimately, it shows how we might love amid dismay, adore the pungent and the ugly, and exist in our multiplicity across spaces.
"Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is an amazing poet and this book is a testament to that. A must read." —Hasan Namir
"Reading El Bechelany-Lynch, you are reminded to come with tenderness to the work of ordinary things so that something larger and more lasting can begin." —Canisia Lubrin
"Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch's exceptional The Good Arabs is an invitation to consider the 'cost' of living one's truth and what it might mean to remember what has always been known. El Bechelany-Lynch's work holds an intimacy as if we are overhearing a phone conversation or the author speaking on a balcony above us. 'Noises impossible in English' come through here, wrought in a mind attuned to tenderness and present conflicts. This is a bold and deeply necessary work. I am better for having read it." —Liz Howard
"Eli Tareq El-Bechelany Lynch’s The Good Arabs is a map of what it means to be queer, to be trans, to be Arab: from the hope of revolution to the Lebanese garbage crisis, of whiteness and its weight, of public space and private space and of eating pumpkin seeds on a summer balcony when the power is out. Even at its heaviest, this is a collection that insists on joy and on embodiment, reminding us that resistance can look like shaking one’s hips to Nancy Ajram, too." —Zeyn Joukhadar
"The Good Arabs is a collection of both verse and prose poems that explores place and belonging." —CBC Books
"The Good Arabs is a beautiful, unflinching book. I love the way conversations become poems, the way 'the past becomes the present when we speak it into existence.' With every sense a body can have, El Bechelany-Lynch invites us to turn toward complexity, to ask questions and never settle for easy answers." —Tess Liem
Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is a queer Arab poet living in Tio’tia:ke, unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory. Their work has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2018 anthology, GUTS, Carte Blanche, the Shade Journal, The New Quarterly, Arc Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere. They were longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2019. You can find them on Instagram and Twitter @theonlyelitareq. Their book, knot body, was published by Metatron Press in September 2020.