House of the Night Watch


Poetry. Women’s Studies. “Tara Ballard’s opulently beautiful book guides her readers through the glories and tragedies of the people of the Middle East with such vivid language that we profoundly feel sensations; we can ‘taste each / syllable’ on the ‘tongue / like horseradish, like honey.’ In her witnessing, she never takes sides, though she exposes the consequences of those who do. Unafraid of the necessary work of weaving together binaries, her poems make one fabric of the region’s lyric and spiritual traditions and its present day realities of refugees, NGOs, peacekeepers, minefields, and surveillance. Ballard’s work carries on C.P. Cavafy’s legacy as a documentarian and ‘poet-historian.’ Like Cavafy, she speaks in the voices of individuals in the hands of their historical moment, subject to their leaders’ often unwise and destructive agendas. We hear their full-throated voices singing vulnerability and courage, love and grieving. HOUSE OF THE NIGHT WATCH is a book we urgently need, one that gives us hope that one day we will wake up to peace.”—Aliki Barnstone

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Tara Ballard was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. For nearly a decade now, she and her husband have been living in the Middle East, dividing their time between countries in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. She has an MFA in creative writing and the literary arts from the University of Anchorage, Alaska. Her poems have appeared in Bellingham Review, Salamander, The Southampton Review, Poetry Northwest, and other literary magazines in the United States and abroad.



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