"Reading Peter Twal’s Our Earliest Tattoos, I kept thinking of Wallace Stevens' famous pronouncement that a poem should 'resist the intelligence, almost successfully.' Throughout the book, we see a poet of real intelligence who is also intensely attuned to the wants and needs of language itself. Twal's sky is 'so heady, thinking the world of itself'—an earth is summoned, called into being by the ether's own imagination. There is massive intellect pulsing through these poems, which are inflected by the Mars Rover and LCD Soundsystem and God and gravity and and and. But Twal's genius is in the way he knows exactly when to yield the floor to imagination, which wonders and wanders through love and loneliness and friendship and grief in a million fascinating ways throughout Our Earliest Tattoos. 'I will love my monster,' Twal writes, and then he proceeds to show us."
—Kaveh Akbar + Author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf
“Peter Twal's poetic energy combines the absurd with the grave, the hilarious with the profound, the wacky with the tragic. In driving lines filled with unrelenting rhythms, his concerns engage the gray zone where the injured, mortal self is also fraudulent. But he does this with kindness, with joy, and stark metaphors, through imaginative lexicon and constructed protagonists."
—Fady Joudah + Author of Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance
"Peter Twal's sonnet sequence explodes inside a pop song. It's a song of youth and extinction, doomed and well dressed. His instincts are at once traditional and contemporary, his lovers garlanded with strobe light and TV snow and IEDs and birdflight. It's a thrill to be in the presence of a poet of such a vision, a smith of such lovely smithereens."
—Joyelle McSweeney + Author of The Necropastoral
"Reading the manuscripts that have come to us, especially the winning books, makes evident the vitality and vibrancy of poetry produced by writers of Arab heritage."
—Hayan Charara + Author of Something Sinister
"Peter Twal's beautiful debut makes wholly new frames for figuring a generation too alive for nostalgia and too awake for solipsism. Like a body from one of Goya's Pinturas Negras, Twal's speaker emerges out of his knowing impossibilities of scale into our contemporary moment all while coolly texting Death 'Your attention/ to detail though.' Nimble in its music and kind, this book is a reservoir of what we wish we'd said, especially when death texts back."
—Farid Matuk + Author of The Real Horse