Look by Solmaz Sharif

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The battle can be exhilarating, and anyone who has been through it shudders at the mere mention of the word. The consequences of war cannot be ignored because they have an influence on a society’s psychological, moral, and political condition. Modern society is riddled by injustices that are hidden under the mask of liberty. Nations continue to wage atrocious wars on others in order to exploit them. Solmaz Sharif, a Rona Jaffe Award recipient, makes language a topic in her inquiries into the effects of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, not just for herself but also for her family. She explores the impacts of the war through the poem, “My Life in the American” and also in “Dream is a Downgrade” (Look). The language is so emotional that it draws the reader to reality. Solmaz brilliantly explores the effects of war on language. She has an Iranian origin, and historically war has persisted in her society. Though the war was second-hand for Solmaz, she makes it first-hand in Personal Effects.

Throughout the poetry book, the motif that appears pervading is the employment of terms derived from the dictionary of the Department of Defense and Military along with other concomitant languages (Sharif, 7). Solmaz uses military terms such as person eligible to receive effects, thermal shadow and neutralized. However, through the utilization of the nomenclature which is sanitized and masked by rewording, this piece of literature cunningly turns against itself. Through shards, sequences as well as fragments, form plays a significant role in the poetry book, Look. Further, the list induces the reader to explore through the rules of the post-war. In the poem, Personal Effects Solmaz writes a small fragment about a soldier who is smiling while holding the gun. She also writes several letters in the poem “Reaching Guantanamo” to a prisoner in Guantanamo which were presumably edited by an official in the prison department (Telles, 47). Although the form which is torn by war disorients the reader slightly, he or she can still figure out the struggle in war. At its core, Look by Solmaz Sharif calls for political attention. It is critical to understand the permeation of war to our culture and society to combat its effects on people as well as language. The poetry book is not only an eye opener but also relevant and highly recommended to all readers.

Works Cited

“Look | Graywolf Press.” Home | Graywolf Press, Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org/books/look. Accessed 24 Apr. 2017.

Sharif, Solmaz. LOOK Poems. Graywolf Press, 2016.

Telles, Lygia Fagundes. “The Green Ball.” World Literature Today 90.3-4 (2016): 47-51.

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