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Book Title


Author 1
Solmaz Sharif
Poem Excerpt
I said what I meant
but I said it

in velvet. I said it in feathers.
And so one poet reminded me

Remember what you are to them.

Poodle, I said.

And remember what they are to you.


—from “Patronage”
In Customs, Solmaz Sharif examines what it means to exist in the nowhere of the arrivals terminal, a continual series of checkpoints, officers, searches, and questionings that become a relentless experience of America. With resignation and austerity, these poems trace a pointed indoctrination to the customs of the nation-state and the English language, and the realities they impose upon the imagination, the paces they put us through. While Sharif critiques the culture of performed social skills and poetry itself—its foreclosures, affects, successes—she begins to write her way out to the other side of acceptability and toward freedom.

Customs is a brilliant, excoriating new collection by a poet whose unfolding works are among the groundbreaking literature of our time.

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5.5 x 8.25
The devastating second collection by Solmaz Sharif, author of Look, a finalist for the National Book Award

About the Author

Solmaz Sharif is the author of a Customs and Look, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Notable Book. She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Her poetry has appeared in Granta, the New Republic, and Poetry. She teaches at Arizona State University.
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  • “Blistering in its clear-sightedness, this collection offers a fierce, beautiful closing that dares to imagine ‘a beckoning, a way.’ A bold and uncompromising book with virtuosic emotional range; highly recommended.”Library Journal, starred review
  • “Sharif demonstrates remarkable talent in her ability to so deftly portray the traumatizing balance required to live in the West with deep roots in Iran.”Michael Ruzicka, Booklist, starred review
  • “Sharif's commanding voice reverberates throughout this complex and confident collection.”Publishers Weekly, starred review 

  • “Dazzling. . . . Sharif’s language is spare and all the more sharp for what remains, for all that she has left out, as the sculptor does with a slab of marble. . . . This is poetry—this is a poet—that marvels us in manners minute and majestic.”—Mandana Chaffa, Ploughshares 

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