Birth of a Mural is an ode to the reclamation of self. The speaker traipses through the topography of a Pakistani culture; sometimes the incongruity she experiences is a “jam jar expiring silently”, other times she recognizes the power of her existence, “fragmenting into a mural, into herself”. The book addresses the struggles of women in a patriarchal society but also portrays women as the ultimate “fairy lights of resurgence”. The striking employment of unexpected imagery in Birth of a Mural allows the reader to enter a world of discarded frying pans, rivers and vivacious streams, estranged lovers and mothers, emotions escaping the warmth of delectable Pakistani cuisine, coffee mugs that have the ability to shape-shift into a Mjolnir and other urban objects replete with the philosophy of life and longing.

“How much more is there to forget? Each unnamed body ache is a longing, a jam jar expiring silently” – from Morning Prayer


Praise for Birth of a Mural

“With lush language, Hiba’s poems navigate the macro and the micro, the ordinary and the extraordinary. This compelling collection condenses time, intertwines boredom and sorrow, and defies definitions, gender norms, and received ideas about faith.”

Zeina Hashem Beck, Author of O and Louder than Hearts (winner of the 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize)


“What you have in your hand is an important book; a Pakistani feminist voice that contemporary poetry in English cannot but sit up and notice. Hiba Heba is a luminous poet who can heal the schism in the soul of every Pakistani, by being very much a voice developed from our own literary past but also representing the future.”

Sascha Aurora Akhtar, Author of #LovelikeBlood and Of Necessity and Wanting


“Beautiful poetry, but even more important, beautiful new similes and metaphors that make you look at the most quotidien of acts and objects with a fresh new eye… this is poetry you want to devour in a gulp as well as savor endlessly.”

Mehvash Amin, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Aleph Review


“The brush of a finger is all that it takes to whirl up a universe. And with the flick of her fingers this poet will light one up in your heart, stirring up whole worlds of emotion drawn from the corner of your eye. It is the details of everyday life that create these poems, the sparks that she catches that make up the fire and fervor of the lives she is writing about. Being a meticulous observer, it is the smallest points of the room which catch her attention and the tiniest gesture by which her verses become a whirlwind of strength, spirit, and resilience. If the clamor of being had a voice, Hiba’s Birth of a Mural would be its song.”

Daniel Schulz, Editor of Kathy Acker in Seattle