My new essay, Crushed, about the language of occupation in Palestine was published last week on Guernica, the New York-based magazine about art and politics.

It’s a great place to be: besides being the recipient of numerous small press awards, last week two of its contributors were long listed for PEN American Center writing prizes.

Here’s an excerpt from my piece:

‘While [Mahmoud] Darwish acknowledged that acts of imagining can flout the reductiveness of the Palestinian identity, (“If I write love poems, I resist the conditions that don’t allow me to write love poems,” he once said) he never conceived of them as the exclusive currency in some mythical “negotiation” between his own exiled and occupied people and their swaggering, hyper-militarized occupier. For Darwish, poetry was a gesture not a debate, and the pen was neither mightier nor feebler than the sword. The pen was the pen, the poet the poet, and the soldier the soldier. If they were useful at all, words were metaphorical instruments, sometimes blunt and at others devastating, but neither weapons nor tools of a make-believe reconciliation.’

The rest is here.