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Kaveh Akbar: Pilgrim Bell. Poems

Kaveh Akbar’s exquisite, highly anticipated follow-up to Calling a Wolf a Wolf.

With formal virtuosity and ruthless precision, Kaveh Akbar’s second collection takes its readers on a spiritual journey of disavowal, fiercely attendant to the presence of divinity where artifacts of self and belonging have been shed. How does one recover from addiction without destroying the self-as-addict?

And if living justly in a nation that would see them erased is, too, a kind of self-destruction, what does one do with the body’s question, “what now shall I repair?” Here, Akbar responds with prayer as an act of devotion to dissonance―the infinite void of a loved one’s absence, the indulgence of austerity, making a life as a Muslim in an Islamophobic nation―teasing the sacred out of silence and stillness.

Richly crafted and generous, Pilgrim Bell’s linguistic rigor is tuned to the register of this moment and any moment. As the swinging soul crashes into its limits, against the atrocities of the American empire, and through a profoundly human capacity for cruelty and grace, these brilliant poems dare to exist in the empty space where song lives―resonant, revelatory, and holy.

Kaveh Akbar founded and edits Divedapper, where he interviews major voices in contemporary poetry. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Tin House, APR, PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere. He is the author of the chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic (Sibling Rivalry Press, January 2017) and full-length collection Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books, September 2017). Akbar has received a Pushcart and a Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. In 2016, Akbar was a recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He was born in Tehran, Iran, and is currently a professor in the MFA program at Purdue University and in the low-residency program at Randolph College.

(. . .)
Corporeal friends are
spiritual enemies, said
Blake, probably gardening

in the nude. Today I’m trying
to scowl more, mismatch
my lingerie. Nobody
seems bothered enough.
(. . .)

Pilgrim Bell
Poems
by Kaveh Akbar
Publisher: ‎ Graywolf Press
August 3, 2021
Language: ‎ English
Paperback
80 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1644450593
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1644450598
$13.70

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