Award-winning poet Elena Georgiou’s second collection, Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants, prompts us to look beyond the question, “Where are you from?” to a more complicated array of questions regarding multiple migrations, invasions, post-colonial freedom, and the ability to board international flights. As the child of Cypriot immigrants, as a British immigrant herself, and as an ex-dancer, Georgiou is an expert in the art of moving—the choreography of words is the hallmark of this collection. Her poems invite us to consider what it is we are looking for, hoping for, and what we expect to find in the ever-changing landscape of our lives.
Elena Georgiou has the unbordered tongue of an immigrant. Her poems travel through the public and private geographies of citizenship, building homes made of bodies and language. Her work is an alphabet, a Greek chorus, a praise poem for the English language and its many tongues. It is your visa to the poetry of immigration.
—Lisa Birman, author of For That Return Passage: A Valentine for the United States of America, and co-editor (with Anne Waldman) of Civil Disobediences Poetics and Politics in Action
Elena Georgiou comes to us beautifully and unabashedly exposed. She reminds us, through the eyes of “immigrant” experiences, that we too must be our own “Expatriate Cartographer” if we are to navigate and survive the losses and gains of living through change and eruption. In writing that is remarkably brave, she sends us her “enclosed everything.”
—Jenny Boully, author of The Book of Beginnings and Endings, One Love Affair, and The Body
Immigrant questions become questions of how to love, how to adhere to an “earth…cut in half.” Elena Georgiou’s beautiful book of poems is the “blossom” that falls to the train floor, it’s the “ocean floor,” it’s a “map…of silk countries,” folded and unfolding.
—Bhanu Kapil, author of Humanimal, Incubation: A Space for Monsters, and The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers