Poetry by Kaveh Akbar and Ilya Kaminsky

THU, AUG 1, 2019 (None)

Brookline Booksmith’s Transnational Literature Series presents an evening of poetry with Ilya Kaminsky and Kaveh Akbar. Kaminsky reads from Deaf Republic, set in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. Kaveh Akbar reads from his debut collection of poems, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, dealing with addiction and the strenuous path of recovery.

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Deaf Republic confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them. Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear—all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting a child; the brash Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theater; and Galya’s girls, heroically teaching signs by day and by night luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain.

Calling a Wolf a Wolf boldly confronts addiction and courses the strenuous path of recovery, beginning in the wilds of the mind. Poems confront craving, control, the constant battle of alcoholism and sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this never-ending fight.

“John Berryman and James Wright (and his son Franz Wright) haunt Calling a Wolf a Wolf, but Akbar also has a voice so distinctly his―tinted in old Persian, dipped in modern American, ancient and millennial, addict and ascetic, animal and more animal. In the end, nothing brings man―human or man―down to Earth more than the kingdom of flora and fauna.”―Porochista Khakpour, Virginia Quarterly Review.

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