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Pilgrim Bell

Poems
Kaveh Akbar
 
America, I warn you, if you invite me into your home
I will linger,
 
               kissing my beloveds frankly,
                              pulling up radishes
                              and capping all your pens.
                                   
                     There are no good kings,
                 only burning palaces.
 
                 Lose me today, so much.
from “The Palace”
 
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.

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-64445-059-8
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
80
Trim Size
6.5 x 9
Kaveh Akbar’s exquisite, highly anticipated follow-up to Calling a Wolf a Wolf

About the Author

Kaveh Akbar is the author of Pilgrim Bell and Calling a Wolf a Wolf, and has received honors such as a Levis Reading Prize and multiple Pushcart Prizes. Born in Tehran, Iran, he teaches at Purdue University and in low-residency programs at Warren Wilson and Randolph Colleges.
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Praise

  • Pilgrim Bell is a book that chooses honesty over beauty, which makes it a breathtaking text.”—Hanif Abdurraqib
     
  • “Kaveh Akbar is the sorcerer’s sorcerer, masterful in the way he wields language for us, for these poems, to sound his Pilgrim Bell. Profound and singular, smart and sad and funny, but most of all truth’s beauty and beauty’s truth sung. . . We need Pilgrim Bell. We need Kaveh Akbar.”—Tommy Orange
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