The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me

Maged Zaher was born and raised in Cairo. He is the author of Portrait of the Poet As an Engineer (Pressed Wafer, 2009) and Thank You for the Window Office (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012). His collaborative work with the Australian poet Pam Brown, Farout Library Software, was published by Tinfish Press in 2007. His translations of contemporary Egyptian poetry have appeared in Jacket magazine and Banipal. He read his work at Subtext, Bumbershoot, the Kootenay School of Writing, St. Marks Project, Evergreen State College, and The American University in Cairo, among other places.

About the Cover: "The cover is a representation of the Egyptian flag, which holds much symbolism of the country's political history. The angles introduced in the cover continue throughout the interior of the book and echo Zaher's outsider perspective. While originally from Cairo himself, Zaher wrote from a "sideline view" giving the reader a simple glimpse of the full situation." Allison Hanabusa, head designer


The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me
By Maged Zaher • 2012 • $15
Design by Allison Hanabusa


Maged Zaher is an Egyptian engineer who lives and writes English-language poetry in Seattle, Washington; his previous chapbook with Tinfish Press was co-authored with Pam Brown and titled Farout Library Software (2007). Zaher writes with haiku-like brevity and precision about his return to Egypt shortly after the 2011 revolution. Already foreseeing the counter-revolution, his eye gravitates toward the absurd paradoxes of global capitalism and local revolution, as he moves from coffee shop to public square and then back.

Anthony McCann writes of the book: “I find it hard to read this book without looking up and wondering who and what and where I am. It returns me again and again to wondering what a person is, what speaking is, and what we mean by ‘the world’. Deterritorialization is one of its main concerns and main activities, something that I think can be said about Zaher’s work in general, whether he is undermining the reality effects of nation states and their borders, or of corporate spectral omnipresence, or unpeeling his own personal multiply-deterritorialized lyric self. It is vital, lucid, and uncompromising work that leaves this reader feeling more alive and open to ‘our moment,’ and less secure than ever about what that might mean. Despite its often slashing irony, I find it a very tender book as well. The gentleness and the slightness of the form cradles a reader (this one anyway) preventing panic and interpretative foreclosure.”

from The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me:

Nationhood is mostly a practice
Killing demonstrators (for example)
Or staying up all night
Sipping tea with reporters

also from The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me:

I’m well-placed in the documentary
Except that these aren’t my desires—
The military trucks are intriguing
In their daily search for intimacy


Read a review by Steve Collis.

Read another review by Jeff Hansen.