Kamelya Youssef, the Authentic Arab American Ecopoet Activist

“People usually comment
that your name is also
a flower
or that you’re named after it
or it after you.”

With these words Kamelya Youssef once started her poem Xylem

Kamelya Youssef is a Detroit-based poet, organizer, graduate student, and teacher. She is a member of the Z Collective and a board member of the Radius of Arab American Writers Inc (RAWI). Her poetry and essays have been published in Mizna , Bird’s Thumb among others and she has shared her work on stages across the US. You can find her on Fridays hosting open mic nights at The Bottom Line Coffeehouse right near what will always be called the Cass Corridor. She’s a daughter of Lebanese immigrants with a special love for 90s freestyle and she makes a mean pecan pie.  Currently, she is interested in the ecopoetics of immigrant and POC literatures and acts of non-translation.  Her ongoing work is mastering the art of being in multiple places at once.

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