Invasive species

A vernacular debut that uncompromisingly journeys towards its sole destination: the decolonization of the imagination



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Weight .55 lbs
Dimensions 6 × .5 × 9 in

eBook, Paperback

In Invasive species, Marwa Helal’s searing politically charged poems touch on our collective humanity and build new pathways for empathy, etching themselves into memory. This work centers on urgent themes in our cultural landscape, creating space for unseen victims of discriminatory foreign (read: immigration) policy: migrants, refugees—the displaced. Helal transfers lived experiences of dislocation and relocation onto the reader by obscuring borders through language.


Marwa Helal voyages across borders of genre, form, and faith to deliver us beyond simple citizenship and into a higher understanding of our leaving note dreams. These poems are travelin’ papers—inventive, hard fought, sweat swollen passports into an America that bristles with hope through the same mouth that curses it’s home-grown. This is the arrival of a poet whose work huddles you in like a small and human shelter, squares you by the shoulder, looks you in the eye until you find yourself saying it with her—i’ve grown tired of keeping a safe distance.

-Tyehimba Jess
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ISBN: 9781937658939
paperback, 140 pages, 6 x 9 in
Publication Date: January 2019

[…]Helal’s first and often stellar book belongs to many categories, and to none. It contains prose and verse; polemic and introspection; remixed pop lyrics and pellucid memoir; straightforward narration and constellated word games. The volume shows her powers — and her amply justified anger — in most of those forms.

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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 …

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