Honora Spicer

Architectures of Disappearance

Reading Yousif M. Qasmiyeh's 'Writing the Camp'

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, 'Writing the Camp' (Talgarreg, Wales: Broken Sleep Books, 2021).

The tender, raw poetic investigations in Yousif M. Qasmiyeh’s recent Writing the Camp (Broken Sleep Books, 2021) conceptualize a theory of the refugee camp as archive, taking as local frame Baddawi Camp in North Lebanon, where Qasmiyeh grew up.

Orienting to im/mobility

This image is a screenshot of El Paso zoning maps accessed online. The ICE detention center described here is underneath the corner where the three maps overlap.

The questions came out of walks — from El Paso Service Processing Center (ICE Detention) to the Bus Route 50 stop, outside USPS on Boeing Ave. On sandstorm nights, the walk was lean and grimace, spit and hack. The wide stretches required it; long blocks zoned postwar. Required wait, corners of dust lots labelled “Property of US Government,” under the airport watch tower and the Super Guppy’s tarmac gleam.