Poetry. Composed over the last decade, MY TRANQUIL WAR AND OTHER POEMS tackles head-on the response of the poet in a time of great political turmoil. What is the poet's special responsibility? When terror becomes a general condition of dread, internalized to the last degree, even beauty and truth assume grotesque masks. The poet surveys the breakage of culture, occurring both retrospectively and in the present, and is left speechless—and potentially harmless. No one is exempt from the brutality, there are no excuses. The danger for poetry in such times is that it can become slave to technique and self-worship, in love with its own grandiosity. Thus these poems, written in a remarkable variety of forms—from traditional sonnets to experiments in found poetry—constantly rub up against self-limitation, and in that effort alone, the desire to discover a voice appropriate for the times, turn what could have been relentless elegy into an often transcendent sphere of holiness and refuge. There are, after all, beauty and truth, in the expected places; to plunge after them, one only needs all the arsenal of past culture, although the baggage may well be disposable and contingent. The poet's fate, it turns out, is a central determinant, a surefire clue to the future, as empire relentlessly falls apart, past illusions shatter, dreams fail to suffice, and a new humanity emerges, almost against its will. The fiery apocalypse of the soul, negated at its core, at a time when the public and the private merge like inseparable warring twins, is what MY TRANQUIL WAR AND OTHER POEMS tries to capture, in poetry carefully treading the fault lines of sacredness, when nothing is labeled as such.
"Anis Shivani's writing seeks sanctuary by looking poetry and its makers (and a stray president to boot) squarely in the face."—Eileen Myles
"I sense everywhere an undercurrent of compassion and identification, a poignant humanity and sense of responsibility underneath the torrential voice of his book."—Franz Wright
Author City: HOUSTON, TX USA
Anis Shivani is the author of several critically acclaimed books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including ANATOLIA AND OTHER STORIES (NYQ Books, 2009), Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies (2011), THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES (C&R Press, 2012), MY TRANQUIL WAR AND OTHER POEMS (NYQ Books,2012), and Karachi Raj: A Novel (2015). Both ANATOLIA AND OTHER STORIES and THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES were longlisted for the Frank O'Connor international short story award. Forthcoming books include Soraya: Sonnets and Literature in an Age of Globalization. Books in progress or recently finished include Death is a Festival: Poems, Plastic Realism: Neoliberalism in Recent American Fiction, and the novels A History of the Cat in Nine Chapters or Less, Abruzzi, 1936, and An Idiot's Guide to America. Anis's work appears in the Yale Review, Georgia Review, Boston Review, Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Antioch Review, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, Fence, Epoch, Boulevard, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, Verse, Colorado Review, Quarterly West, New Letters, Subtropics, Times Literary Supplement, London Magazine, Meanjin, Fiddlehead, and other leading literary journals. Anis is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and his reviews appear widely in newspapers and magazines such as the Huffington Post, Daily Beast, In These Times, Texas Observer, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Austin American-Statesman, Kansas City Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, St. Petersburg Times, Charlotte Observer, and many other outlets. Anis is the winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, was educated at Ha
Reviews and Other Links