People You Know, Places You’ve Been
by Hana Shafi
The latest poetry and artwork collection from Hana Shafi examines the unlikely connections we make to the people and places we encounter. Despite the infinite variations of our lives, every urban dweller has sparred with a neighbour they disliked, seen beautiful strangers on public transit, told secrets to their hairdresser. We interact with these supporting characters on a daily basis—and often we are them for others.
Shafi celebrates the Antiheroes of the world (the alcoholic at your local bar, teenage girls); examines those in Beautiful Leading Roles (the hot professor, the rich couple); lauds older generations of Wizards and Crones; and flags the Nemeses (men who think they’re allies, competitors for produce at farmer’s markets). We sink into recognition at depictions of Palaces such as the greasy spoon, Dungeons of public transit, and the Liminal Spaces of checkout counters or waiting rooms (including that one at the end of the cosmos).
People You Know, Places You’ve Been is an insightful, charming collection that offers a sense of shared recognition and nostalgia, ultimately asking: what if seemingly mundane places are actually the foundations of who you are?