Ancestry Unfinished is Now Available!

Order a copy through my publisher Kelsay Books or through other booksellers.

Ancestry Unfinished is Yasmin Mariam Kloth’s debut collection of poetry.


My grandmother reads
coffee grounds with two hands
she holds blue and red flowers
of the Turkish coffee cup. First she
presses the saucer against
the ceramic lip and the sound
of hard surfaces rings
through the room. She
flips the two together
for a moment they are dancing
to her hum. My grandmother hums
a low murmur like a chant
to what’s left of the liquid
hums to a pool of silk.
The grounds hold tight
to the walls of the cup
and the shapes tell stories
I will never understand.

I am thirteen and old enough
now to hear my grandmother
read my mother’s cup.
It takes time. They drink
the coffee first with their backs
in chairs my grandmother
embroidered, gifts she gave
when my parents married
and they talk about their lives
this time that has passed.
They talk about place and
the space that fills the distance
to there.
My grandmother holds
my mother’s cup in her hands.
She goes to speak.
We wait in the silence
of her pause

and her drifting gaze.

Praise for Ancestry Unfinished

These poems skillfully interrogate multiple modes of betweenness—diasporic consciousness, medical and genetic uncertainty, the turning-over of generations—in order to ask hard and essential questions about identity, lineage, and what it means to look to the past and the future. I’m grateful for Kloth’s poems in the world.

–Natalie Shapero, Popular Longing (Copper Canyon Press, 2021) 

In yearning to connect with and live inside an “unfinished ancestry,” Kloth bridges the “distance (between) language and loss” eloquently and with great love, “search(ing) for parts of (her)self” amid family stories and traditions. These carefully-crafted poems address such subjects as dementia, ritual, memory, and language, and call upon the “small things”—a phone call, a daughter’s face, a palm tree—to reveal fingerprints of belonging that mark the way home.

–Sandy Coomer, The Broken Places (Saddle Road Press, 2021)

Embrace yourself—Kloth is an exquisite wordsmith. Her flavorful poems will tuck you delicately between her grandmother’s hand rolled grape leaves and her infinite wisdom. I kept rereading these poems like a sacred text, pausing to contemplate, and then continuing to turn the page before the storm of assimilation compromises the fate of our daughters.

–Shahé Mankerian, History of Forgetfulness (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021)
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