Is-Was; Practise of Memory
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Chapter (7)
~ Frightening Luck

Expeditions of Projection is a chapbook by leena aboutaleb, published by VIBE in 2022. Exploring desire, grief and heartbreak, the chapbook is a reflective memento into a drenched and inherited displacement.

PRAISE for Expeditions of Projection

"This collection is a rush; Leena's poems are text message & confession, love letter & manifesto, the vulnerable the political the beautiful all at once." - Summer Farah

"the movement in leena aboutaleb’s dispatches weave all our usually compartmentalized dimensions together until we stop asking for directions. i don’t care when or how we are, because the Where is so visceral. the searching is How and it’s how we keep moving. we are in cairo we are in amman we are in hell we are in love and I don’t care about the destination because I want to stay inside of these poems, i want to follow the roving sharp eye of this poet and wind of her voice as it fills every space love has left behind. The simultaneous meditations and muchness of this textural collection ensures I will find and feel something new each time I return to it. I feel brave when I read these poems, like I’m a knife in my own pocket."- Jess Rizkallah, author of "the magic my body becomes"

Abundantly anarchic and fastidiously crafted at the same time, this work is a love song for Palestine, Palestinians, diaspora, cities, seas, and love itself. leena aboutaleb is a poet unafraid to embrace a full, dizzying world of references, experiences—from Britney and crushes to Cairo and exile. How lucky we are to dance in the salt and shimmer of this “cosmos erupting.” - Chen Chen, author of "When I Grow Up I Want to Be A List of Further Possibilities" and "Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency"

Projection is destabilized by its double meaning. It comes from the past to forecast the future; it emerges from one’s interior to shape relation in the now. In her exquisite chapbook Expeditions of Projection, leena aboutaleb moves in the flashes of this strobe, where binaries become beats that are riffed on and revised, and what happens in the dark meets what happens in the light to form a jagged, aching possibility that only becomes sexier for what evades the eye. The here and not-here of these poems is, yes, Ramallah and Amman and Cairo, but these lines aren’t mappable on anything that could be tacked to a classroom wall. To leave, aboutaleb’s poems remind me, is to be otherwise connected; to be far from is to nourish want—want, that place we might meet, become other than we are, and be more ourselves for it. How lucky to be transformed by this fierce, tender gathering. In compressed and crystalline language, aboutaleb writes with the candid intimacy of a best friend and the indelible style of a manicured nail: “breaking yr heart / is the sexiest way to break yr will.” - Claire Schwartz, author of "Civil Service"


1 1 Click on the image to land on the shop screen at VIBE

2 Conversation between Summer Farah and leena aboutaleb on

3 Cover design by Leena Aboutaleb; published January 2022 by VIBE

4 Expeditions of Projection was written in between 2021 and 2022

Images provided by VIBE