The Unfurling

A new poetry volume by Nimah Ismail Nawwab. With a clear voice she precisely conveys remarkable insights into Saudi Arabia and the world beyond that entwines an ancient society.

Book Reviews

In this book of verse and searing insights, Nimah Ismail Nawwab shares her uncanny gift for linking disparate peoples and cultures through her poems of the heart. A daughter of Arabia, she writes with a knowledge and passion that is as deep and telling of her attachment to family and ancestral origins as she does of her understanding of the world and its ways beyond her country's shores. Much is to be said for those few like her whose prose and poetry span an otherwise unbridgeable chasm in the understanding of other countries and their people's longings and emotions. Ms. Nawwab is among a breed apart in this regard, and not only for being adept at holding hands across both ends of a cultural divide, but in her life and in her writings for personifying so closely much that can be likened unto the bridge itself.

-Dr. John Duke Anthony, President, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

Nimah Nawwab’s remarkable volume of poetry is must-reading for its artistic merits as well as its relevance and timeliness. Her poetry takes on special significance at the present time as many continue to ask, “Where are the moderate Muslim voices?” These insightful, profound and often moving poems range across Arab and Muslim culture and the author’s life and experiences, addressing topics from religion and culture, faith and belief, gender and family, pluralism and peace to Palestine, Iraq, and Arabia. Nimah Nawwab’s poetry reflects the faith, hopes, fears, disappointments, expectations and dreams of many ordinary Muslims, and indeed non-Muslims, today.

-John L. Esposito, Founding Director Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University

Arab culture, Arab, Muslim women and women in general, human affairs- this enriching volume moves us from the center of personal experiences to current global issues and speaks to the truths in all our lives.

There is a wealth of insight here for everyone, and I highly recommend it to teachers, students, and those who are interested in Arab culture as seen through the eyes of a modern writer and poet. It has a place in language arts programs looking at contemporary world issues, including women's issues, coming-of-age, and self-discovery. What a wonderful tool for dispelling stereotypes and replacing them with understanding – a means by which to explore our own journey of self-discovery. I want to give this volume a hug!

-Audrey Shabbas, AWAIR: Arab World and Islamic Resources and School Services, Berkeley, California

Nimah Ismail Nawwab is a Saudi poet descended from a long line of Makkan scholars. An English writer and poet as well as photographer, her essays and articles on Saudi society, customs, Islam, art, crafts, cuisine and calligraphy have been published in Saudi Arabia and abroad.
Her poems on women, freedom, Arabian society and the younger generation of Saudis as well as the universal themes of love, loss and simple joy are published online and in print.

She collects Saudi artifacts, Middle Eastern folkloric costumes, silver jewelry, Persian rugs, Nomadic weavings and pottery. She loves animals and enjoys listening to eclectic music, especially when writing poems; traveling, cooking and researching international dishes. Nimah lives with her husband and two children in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. She may be contacted at