Prose Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America
Volume 7 Issue 1
Mizna, “the country’s first Arab American lit journal,” includes poems, cartoons, fiction, non-fiction, a play and art work.
Mizna, “the country’s first Arab American lit journal,” includes poems, cartoons, fiction, non-fiction, a play and art work. You don’t have to be Arab American to submit or to read. Several of the entries link the revered cuisine of Arab culture to its current global eminence; this tension, of a proud culture in the midst of change, permeates the journal. “I just wanted to save my face / But ended up making an ass of myself / With my checkered cloth and mistaken identity,” Rosina Hassoun writes at the end of “Accidental Hijacking.” Two brothers travel with their father to his homeland in Syria in “American Muezzin” by Jason Makansi. His vaulted image is doubted by his eldest son, while the youngest observes this disparity between tradition and the American in he and his brother, who are “trying to understand the greatest human conundrum of them all, our father.” Remember Ohio? Yussef El Guindi’s drunken narrator awaits the results of the last election with his wife and another couple. Funny and perfectly timed, this allegory captures the mood of a country through one man’s sodden but sharp perception that things are not what they seem, “I experience a momentary jolt at the realization of something I had never considered, and look away…” In Bushra Rehman’s “Pioneer Spirit,” narrator Razia portrays the pre-witch trial Puritans at a living history museum. Her inaccurate but fun tour to a staid old white couple and a group of Harley bikers, who remind her of her Muslim uncles in Queens, represent the kind of image-consciousness, both misunderstood and misrepresented, that permeates Mizna. It works best, as in the pieces mentioned above, when the characters are dealing with relationships instead of issues. [Mizna, 2205 California Street NE, Suite 109A, Minneapolis, MN 55418. Single issue $10. www.mizna.org]