When the World Breaks Open

Seema Reza (Author)


When the World Breaks Open is a non-linear narrative memoir that traces Seema Reza's journey from being a suburban mom to using her own lessons to build a unique writing and art program in military hospitals. Reza exposes her triumphs and fears and regret through the dissolution of a dysfunctional marriage, and investigates her own experiences and societal attitudes towards loss, love, motherhood and community, undermining the idea that strength requires silence. There is a revelatory quality to the writing, as Reza exposes her own weaknesses and regrets and investigates their sources. As she wonders, she displays a trust in the intelligence of the reader, providing space to explore these themes alongside her, inviting both identification and immersion.

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
Red Hen Press
Publish Date
March 08, 2016
5.0 X 0.8 X 8.0 inches | 0.6 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Seema Reza is a poet and essayist based outside of Washington, DC, where she coordinates and facilitates a unique hospital arts program that encourages the use of the arts as a tool for narration, self-care and socialization among a military population struggling with emotional and physical injuries. Her work has appeared online and in print in The Beltway Quarterly, HerKind, Duende, Pithead Chapel and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, among others. An alumna of VONA and Goddard College, she was awarded the 2015 Col John Gioia Patriot Award by USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore for her work with service members.


**A NewPages Book Stand Editor's Pick: June 2016

"The author writes with self-lacerating honesty. . . . Blurring boundaries, Reza exercises literary license and often writes with poetic power."

--Kirkus Reviews

"There are long tones of loneliness, self-discovery, and memory in Seema Reza's lyrical memoir. . . . Her prose is smooth and blurred at the same time, like tears spilled on a manuscript page. The words are powerful enough to reach past the lines and gut-punch us. Abuse, selfishness, loss, all of it is hidden within her text, whether broken up in fluid experimental stanzas or rigid static prose. Like water, When the World Breaks Open takes on many forms and shapes to articulate Reza's journey into adulthood while navigating motherhood at the same time. . . . It is her self-reflection which empowers this memoir; her responsibility to take action for herself and not to languish as she was. She asserts that 'in order to survive [your life] . . . [you] must learn to recognize [your] emotions' and the 'trauma that brought you here will not be the last one you face. Life will keep hitting you.' Reza seems determined to hit back."

--Entropy Literature Review