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Ari Banias: A Symmetry. Poems

Winner of the 2022 Publish Triangle Trans and Gender-Variant Literature Award. Finalist for the 2021 Northern California Book Award in Poetry.

A thrilling, discursive second collection from “a poet for this hour—bewildered, hopeful, and cracklingly alive” (Mark Doty).

The poems in Ari Banias’s thrilling and discursive second collection, A Symmetry, unsettle the myth of a benevolently ordered reality. Through uncanny repetitions and elliptical inquiry, Banias contends with the inscriptions of nationhood, language, and ancestral memory in the architectures of daily experience.

Refusing the nostalgias of classicism and the trap of authenticity, these poems turn instead to a Greece of garbage strikes and throwaway tourist pleasures, where bad gender means bad grammar, and a California coast where mansions offer themselves to be crushed under your thumb.

A piece of citrus hurled into one poem’s apartment window rolls downhill and escapes the narrative altogether in another. Farmers destroy their own olive trees, strangers mesmerize us as they fold sheets into perfect corners, “artists who design border wall prototypes are artists / who say they “leave politics out of it.’” Climate collapse and debt accelerate, and desire transforms itself in the ruins.

From within psychic interiors and iconic sites—the museum, the strip mall, the discotheque, the sea—A Symmetry attends to the intimate, social proportions of our material world and discerns the simmering potential of a present that “can be some other way. And is.”

Ari Banias is the author of Anybody, a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Poetry, and the Nation, among other publications. He lives in Oakland, California.

Ari Banias:
A Symmetry
Poems
October 2021
Publishers: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 978-0-393-86813-5
112 pages
Hardcover
$26.95

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