A Library Journal Best Book of Poetry of 2021
Tethered to Stars inhabits the deductive tongue of astronomy, the oracular throat of astrology, and the living language of loss and desire. With an analytical eye and a lyrical heart, Fady Joudah shifts deftly between the microscope, the telescope, and sometimes even the horoscope. His gaze lingers on the interior space of a lung, on a butterfly poised on a filament, on the moon temple atop Huayna Picchu, on a dismembered live oak. In each lingering, Joudah shares with readers the palimpsest of what makes us human: "We are other worms / for other silk roads." The solemn, the humorous, the erotic, the transcendent--all of it, in Joudah's poems, steeped in the lexicon of the natural world. "When I say honey," says one lover, "I'm asking you whose pollen you contain." "And when I say honey," replies another, "you grip my sweetness / on your life, stigma and anthophile."
Teeming with life but tinged with a sublime proximity to death, Tethered to Stars is a collection that flows "between nuance and essentialization," from one of our most acclaimed poets.