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Zaid Shlah

Zaid Shlah was born in Calgary, Alberta but now lives in Walnut Creek, California where he is a lecturer at New College of California. Shlah holds an M.A. in English from the San Francisco State University.

ClockWork book cover


ClockWork: Poems & Essays

Calgary: Frontenac House, 2015.

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

ClockWork is a sustained argument with the role of the poet/critic, and the search for an alternative narrative. It has been situated with the eye of an exile; that is, Zaid Shlah perceives his native country (Canada) at a distance, and that distance provides an oblique and nuanced view of its poetic/political and public discourse. As an Iraqi-Canadian living in the U.S. (bringing with it all of the conflicted feelings of a protracted and senseless war), the manuscript’s primary exploration is concerned with the effects of that compounded discourse on language and poetry, and what the author or the individual might do to get back to seeing himself and the world anew.



Calgary: Frontenac House, 2006.
PS8637 .H53 T37 2006

Publisher’s Synopsis

A taqsim is an improvisational Middle Eastern medley in which the musician moves between formal musical structure and free-flowing improvisation. In Taqsim Zaid Shlah writes within the formal structure of the lyric, but incorporates an innovative lyricism that agitates between his Iraqi and Canadian heritage: a history of music, food, war and love in a space as wide as the mountains and prairies of his native Alberta to as far away as the land between the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates.


Publisher Frontenac House