Calling a Wolf a Wolf

Question:

What’s the leading cause of dry skin?

Punchline:

Towels.

 

I am normally not one for poetry. I find it is at times trite, overcomplicated or using so much flowered language that I wonder if there is any substance under all those gossamer images. However, there is one exception and so far only one exception to this. Kaveh Akbar. I read his poetry for a class last year and fell deeply in love. The passion and sharp truth behind his words makes me tear up every time I read them. I was fortunate enough to FaceTime with him in class and the opportunity to ask him questions and hear him read his own poetry propelled my love ever deeper. His first full-length book was released at the end of 2017 and every poem is ridiculously impressive.

I think I enjoy his work so much because it reminds me of good fiction. Every word and line serves a specific purpose and any fatty bits have been skillfully removed with a scalpel’s precision. He says what he means and means what he says and I have great respect and admiration for that intense honesty. Going through the book I myself find underlining and highlighting most lines to the point of excess but I just can’t help it, they’re all SO GOOD. His imagery is solidly rooted in this material world so it is easily accessible and easy to connect with making it hit that much harder. Alcoholism, sorcery, Islam and a fading of tradition are all explored in this magnificent collection – even if you don’t like poetry I really recommend trying his because it is truly like nothing I have ever read before.

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