Ruth Awad


Ruth Awad is a Lebanese-American poet, a 2021 NEA Poetry fellow, and the author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. Alongside Rachel Mennies, she is the co-editor of The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2020). She is the recipient of a 2020 and 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and she won the 2013 and 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. Her work appears in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Believer, The New Republic, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. Source

A Message from the Guardians of the Cedars

“It is the duty of each Lebanese to kill one Palestinian.”


Slogan used by the ultranationalist anti-Palestinian militia, known for 

their cruelty and war crimes during the Lebanese Civil War


Lebanon, you are not Arab. 

And those Palestinians

gnawing your heel bone

are not your sons.

Their teeth spark up at you.


Karantina and Tel al-Zaatar—

every flame scrolled over

those camps was a love letter.

Lebanon, does your love not burn?


Drive to Jounieh,

your tires gurge. An overpass

like a balaclava’s cut eyes.

Parched riverbeds sated

with the strange pulp untethered

from our rusted cab.


Lebanon, can you hear them

bleating, bound to the back of the taxi

and dragged up to the motorway?

We are writing your anthem:

the cursive of blood, all

the road singing

a fading heartbeat.


Listen. The body, a pure, shapeless mass

like red clay. Build yourself from it. 





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Intersectionality & Culture


Violence & War

Literary Devices:


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”