Christian Hawkey

ISBN-13: 9780900575129 | $18 | 108 pages | October 1, 2021

In his first book of poetry since the critically acclaimed and influential Ventrakl, Christian Hawkey’s Sift presents readers with fiercely resonant, interlingual inquiries into desire and power. Emerging out of Hawkey’s co-translation of the Arabic (with Marouane Zakhir) of Moroccan theorist Abdessalam Benabdelali, Sift calls attention to sifted speech, to what “catches in the throat,” and how language refuses easy transmission. Cinematic in its unfolding and lyrically explorative across multiple Englishes, Sift is a profound experiment in language by an everprovocative poet.


In this extraordinary collection, Christian Hawkey shows us the infinite porosity of words is the infinite porosity of worlds. Here, the lingual is neither mono nor multi. Rather, the transit of language beckons the unbecoming of settler colonial geographies. The prose is delicate, tender even, yet Hawkey unflinchingly addresses the grievous violence of our times. Coveting this book like a beaming secret, I found myself sneaking off to pet it. Sift convinces us to cherish every yield.

—Jasbir K. Puar, author of The Right to Maim and Terrorist Assemblages

Created in the interstices of translation, Sift is a formally intricate work that demonstrates a brilliant engagement with the etymological trails (and trials) of language and translation and their interpenetration with empire, colonialism, history, politics, and parenting. I did not want to leave this poem that urgently names what needs to be is.

—M. NourbeSe Philip, author of Zong!

Sift is a remarkable, radical book-length poem that simultaneously coils and uncoils throughout its etymological journey, destabilizing linguistic coloniality. Circling around and between Arabic and English, the poem’s language is translingual, syntactically volatile, sonically playful, incantatory, mirror-like, and trans-marginated. Christian Hawkey’s Sift sings, laments, protests, and exists alongside Inger Christensen’s alphabet.

—Don Mee Choi, author of DMZ Colony


Christian Hawkey has written two full-length poetry collections: The Book of Funnels, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Citizen Of, both from Wave Books. He’s published several chapbooks, as well as the widely reviewed and celebrated cross-genre book Ventrakl (Ugly Duckling Presse). A collaborative bi-lingual erasure made with the German poet Uljana Wolf, Sonne from Ort, appeared in 2013 (kookbooks verlag, Berlin). A selection of Ilse Aichinger’s short prose, Bad Words, translated with Uljana Wolf, appeared in 2019 (Seagull Books). He’s received the Creative Capital Innovative Literature Award, a NEA grant, and a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellowship. His own work has been translated into over a dozen languages.