Ante body

An incisive poetic sequence that tracks the relationship between migration and complex traumas in this unsparing critique of the unjust conditions that brought us the global pandemic.




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Weight .33 lbs

eBook, Paperback

Ante body is a poetics of [un]rest. A project that started as an exploration of how the psychological impacts of migration and complex traumas manifest as autoimmune disease and grew into a critique of the ongoing unjust conditions that brought on the global pandemic. Continuing her use of the invented poetic form, the Arabic, and integrating Fred Moten’s concept of “the ANTE,” Helal creates an elliptical reading experience in which content and form interrogate the inner workings of patriarchy, capitalism, nationalism, and globalism.


In Marwa Helal’s Ante body we are pulled into a tidal pool swirling and remixing language from the shores and margins. Stretching from Egypt to the United States, Helal’s work breaches borders as they ought to be breached, refusing to recognize their validity and limitations. A treatise intended on speaking to notions of “power” from the gendered, raced, and colonized ‘subject,’ Ante body is driven by a voice embodied in the before and after. Full with humor and tilt, Ante body insists on interrogating how we come to know the present world and what we might need to cultivate a new ontology.

-Matthew Shenoda
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ISBN: 9781643621425
Paperback, 80 pages, 6 x 9 in
Publication Date: May 31, 2022

In this innovative volume, Helal meditates on how to live both inside and against systems of oppression: patriarchy, capitalism, racism, and carceral government, among others. In lines that mingle pathos with bleak humor, Helal considers what it means, and what it costs, to belong—to the world, to nations, to one another.

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Marwa Helal is the author of Ante body (Nightboat Books, 2022), Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019) and the chapbook I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No …

More about Marwa Helal