Exiles of Eden


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
Coffee House Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 0.4 X 8.8 inches | 0.3 pounds
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About the Author

Somali-born poet and essayist Ladan Osman is the author of The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony (University of Nebraska Press, 2015), winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize, and the chapbook Ordinary Heaven, which appeared in the box-set Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press, 2014). Her next collection, Exiles of Eden, a work of poetry, photos, and experimental text, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in 2019.


"Ladan Osman has an abundance of talent, and she is one of kind. There is informed wisdom to her poetry, which, on top of being moving, inspires the reader with positive thinking. A wonderful collection." --Nuruddin Farah

"A generous, rooted, and humbly adamant quest for agency." --Publisher's Weekly

"Osman delivers an incredibly urgent call to action against founding narratives that are so prevalent in American society, and which are poisonous to women and people of color." --Africa is a Country

"Ladan Osman is a poet of wonder and inquiry. Her wonder is muscular and thorough, and requires an inventory of the known, a charting of what is lost, and the incantation of desire. In her second full-length collection, Exiles of Eden, even the presumed paradisial qualities of the garden before the fall are called into question. The marriage, the homelands, the underworlds that exile Osman's speakers must be named, circumscribed, and if possible, released, or if not, borne along the curves of the body. Exile demands 'better myths, ' demands letting go of 'our half-life, ' that her speakers 'may . . . make so many things.' Here there is pain and music and thirst and the refusal to bend into a narrative these women have not shaped for themselves." --Donika Kelly

"Ladan Osman is one of the most alive minds in poetry today. Under her supreme gaze, the ordinary is allowed safe passage into strangeness and the surreal is domesticated without losing its innate chaos. Whether with the pen or with the lens, everything is lifted to a higher, fantastic dimension in the frame of Osman's looking. Exiles of Eden scares me. It's that good. I didn't know you could do with language what Osman does, but thank the gods she did." --Danez Smith

"Pain is not located in an identifiable muscle only, but in a person, a relationship, all to a living. Ladan Osman can identify the physical muscles of an emotion as well as the pain come of the lack of its exercise: the lack of a sister's companionship, missing a mother, missing the love in a marriage. The pain of not belonging becomes more than the place. She does the remarkable thing of detailing pain as places of departure, from a marriage, from a country. Places of departure from justice, from morality, from humanity itself follow. The book concludes in a ceremony of restoration well worth witnessing. Her journey will show itself to have been toward a necessary insight. Not the most painless route, but an excellent book of poems." --Ed Roberson

Praise for Ladan Osman

"In a world that too often plugs its ears to voices it thinks unworthy, Osman shows that it's actually more inappropriate to be decorous." --Chicago Tribune

"True visionary poets are very rare. Ladan Osman is one. What she sees is extraordinary, and needful." --Brigit Pegeen Kelly

"Osman is a worldly and acutely sensitive writer who knows how to reach right through the sequined veil of fashion and put her hand squarely on the reader's heart, with frank and candid expression, with unaffected wonder." --Ted Kooser

"Osman is a warrior poet, and she is dangerous because she is especially gifted and disciplined about her craft." --Kwame Dawes