Love Language

By (author): Nasser Hussain

CBC BOOKS CANADIAN POETRY COLLECTIONS TO WATCH FOR IN FALL 2023

In his follow-up to SKY WRI TEI NGS, Nasser Hussain tackles the absurdity of the English language through a modern take love poems

The term “Love Language” can be read at least three ways: as an imperative, as the signoff to a letter, and as a contemporary way of talking about relationship styles. None of these would be wrong in this book. 

Love Language loves language. These are poems that repeat and hypnotize as English becomes more absurd: from Apple’s terms and conditions to other poet’s love poems, from performance reports to pop songs, Hussain skillfully and joyfully toys with everyday texts to talk about love, to think about poems, to call out racism, to remind us that words can be fun. Allow these playful poems to woo you, to let you fall in love with language again.

“Think of ‘time as a lantern,’ suggests Nasser Hussain, in these inimitable poems that take play seriously and allow seriousness to enter the room disguised as incantation. These are poems that long to dismiss the lyric’s most recent pretty mask of polite propriety and instead take us to the lyric’s ancient roots. It started way back, the poet says, ‘when a cave person made a grunt,’ to speak the name of a thing. Indeed. This is the lyric’s ancient pact with the world: to spin playful language into seriousness of giving things their names—what are we without this speaking, this tune? Hussain knows this and writes beautiful poems—and I, for one, am grateful.” – Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

“Hussain’s humour is never complacent; it is the opposite of a defence mechanism (we are encouraged to imagine such a thing) and wryly sidesteps the bad binary of conservative withdrawal as set against algorithm-envenomed hyperassertion. He puts into words a new masculinity maturer than we deserve, that acknowledges swerves of defiance to be inseparable from underswells of doubt.” – Vidyan Ravinthiran, author of The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here


AUTHOR

Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain is a Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University in the UK. His first book, boldface was published in 2014. He holds a PhD in English from the University of York (UK), an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor and a BA in English from Queen’s University.
Nasser has had a number of occupations: treeplanter, wilderness guide, amateur restaurateur, and now academic and poet. He likes his new job best. For him, poems are best described as ‘language with a pattern’, and much of his recent practice takes pleasure in finding new patterns to wonder at. He currently lives in Sheffield, UK. 


Reviews

“Hussain’s poems both puzzle and illuminate, as he delivers answers in no-answers, clarity through absurdity. Can we break down the inanity of our modern lives with verve and levity? Yes, indeed. Love Language unveils the possibilities.” – The Toronto Star

“The Garden of Eden, it turns out, is always just a layover away.” – Sam Anderson, New York Times Magazine on SKY WRI TEI NGS


Awards

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Excerpts & Samples ×

CBC BOOKS CANADIAN POETRY COLLECTIONS TO WATCH FOR IN FALL 2023

In his follow-up to SKY WRI TEI NGS, Nasser Hussain tackles the absurdity of the English language through a modern take love poems

The term “Love Language” can be read at least three ways: as an imperative, as the signoff to a letter, and as a contemporary way of talking about relationship styles. None of these would be wrong in this book. 

Love Language loves language. These are poems that repeat and hypnotize as English becomes more absurd: from Apple’s terms and conditions to other poet’s love poems, from performance reports to pop songs, Hussain skillfully and joyfully toys with everyday texts to talk about love, to think about poems, to call out racism, to remind us that words can be fun. Allow these playful poems to woo you, to let you fall in love with language again.

“Think of ‘time as a lantern,’ suggests Nasser Hussain, in these inimitable poems that take play seriously and allow seriousness to enter the room disguised as incantation. These are poems that long to dismiss the lyric’s most recent pretty mask of polite propriety and instead take us to the lyric’s ancient roots. It started way back, the poet says, ‘when a cave person made a grunt,’ to speak the name of a thing. Indeed. This is the lyric’s ancient pact with the world: to spin playful language into seriousness of giving things their names—what are we without this speaking, this tune? Hussain knows this and writes beautiful poems—and I, for one, am grateful.” – Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic

“Hussain’s humour is never complacent; it is the opposite of a defence mechanism (we are encouraged to imagine such a thing) and wryly sidesteps the bad binary of conservative withdrawal as set against algorithm-envenomed hyperassertion. He puts into words a new masculinity maturer than we deserve, that acknowledges swerves of defiance to be inseparable from underswells of doubt.” – Vidyan Ravinthiran, author of The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here


Reader Reviews

Details

Dimensions:

250 Pages

Published:

September 12, 2023

Publisher:

Coach House Books

ISBN:

9781770567788

Featured In:

All Books

Language:

eng

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