Maya Salameh had received a grant from us in the past, but during the summer of 2020, we reached out to our former recipients to see if they needed assistance during the pandemic. Maya shared that she wanted to spend some time working on her full-length collection of poems. We are so glad we were able to assist, so she could have the time to write:
This summer, I was able to put together my first full-length collection, a 62-page book of poems entitled HOW TO MAKE A HOMILY IN THE MICROWAVE. [T]his collection was intended as a meditation on desire, religion, and the hyphenated Arab body. You will see in this manuscript another protagonist - the algorithm.
Much like the summer, this manuscript evolved in utterly unexpected ways - notably, I developed a new language to describe my relationship with the technological. I wrote poems about the simultaneous monitoring and intimacy to be found in our devices. As a queer Arab woman, I see my body being headlined on my screen(s) every day, so I decided to take the technology that surveils and surrounds and pick it apart. These poems seek to explore the digital sphere's crevices, its hidden parts, all while living a placeless body. My desire is tied to my divinity is tied to my keyboard, across algorithms and apostles and Amy Winehouse.
The WMF allowed me to dedicate time towards my first book manuscript which I could not originally afford to take. This past summer I was working a full-time 40-hour job and was considering taking on a second part-time job to help support my expenses, especially as my family was deeply affected by the pandemic. This grant allowed me to forego that second job and to spend serious time on my craft, and on compiling a full-length collection. Without the William Male Foundation's generous support, I would not have been able to put this collection together, to put in the hours of drafting, revising, and curating that a first book demands. Thank you so much for your belief in me, and your continued faith in my creative vision!!