top of page


Between the shadow & the soul

Between the Shadow & the Soul

is Mariam Gomaa's poetry and chapbook debut, published by Backbone Press.

Gomaa’s first chapbook of poetry is elegant yet visceral, a quiet punch. In this gentle exploration of identity, Arabic phrases navigate us through a universe of diasporic laments and traumatic memories that embody the phrase “sawt al mara’a thawra” meaning “a woman’s voice is a revolution.”


Mariam Gomaa’s jewel of a debut offers readers the satisfyingly rich textures of a coming-of-age novel, delivered with the emotional intensity only poetry can provide. Each poem in this collection finds the apt image, the resonant word, to deliver the insights of a poet wise beyond her years.

Averill Curdy

Author of Song & Error

In her evocative debut collection, Mariam Gomaa guides readers along the map of her life's many journeys. These poems criss-cross languages, cultures, nations and identities, asking where home really is, while showing how creating a self and becoming oneself is a vibrant ever-evolving process. Gomaa not only transforms her experiences, dreams and vision into a language that lives on the page, but stakes her claim as a poet we should all read and share with others.


John KeeneMacArthur fellow

Author of Seismosis, Counternarratives and Playland

Mariam Gomaa’s debut chapbook Between the Shadow & the Soul explores the in-between: a girlhood split between two countries, pregnancy loss and how to mourn what exists between being and not, and the complexities of love between inevitably flawed people. These poems are honest, attentive, and tender. Gomaa writes with her whole heart.

Leila Chatti

Author of Deluge, Tunsiya/Amrikiya and Ebb

Mariam Gomaa is a true poet, and these poems combine lush sensuality with cosmic elegance in ways that make me ache, delight and marvel. In these poems, we are transported to Cairo, introduced to the lush landscape of the body in early pregnancy, and invited into a sensibility that is tender and knowing, emotionally available and singularly alive. These poems remind me of the restorative power of poetry, and they introduce an exquisite new voice.

Rachel Jamison Webster

Author of Mary is a River and September: Poems

Screen Shot 2020-03-12 at 1.36.59 PM.png
bottom of page