- “[Pilgrim Bell] is bracing in its honesty and noteworthy in its steadfast adherence to finding the spiritual in even the most mundane settings. Akbar’s mesmerizing dexterity with language is at its most compelling when he is relentlessly pursuing the truth—a hunt that’s present in every poem in this volume.”—TIME
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”
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.
VIRTUAL: Kaveh Akbar reading and in conversation with Poet Lore editor Emily Holland on PILGRIM BELL, presented by Poet Lore and The Writer's Center
“Working at and along the outer edges of language, Pilgrim Bell calls us to attention and to attend to that which poetry and prayer share, while simultaneously demanding that we tend to the political, the social, the erotic—all that is quotidian and human. . . . Kaveh Akbar, ‘God’s incarnate spit in the mud,’ takes us down to the ground, to the prosaic, the dismissed and overlooked, the better to talk to the great Silence, bearer of many names including that of God.”—M. NourbeSe Philip
- “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
- "Kaveh Akbar is truly a great writer, and his new collection Pilgrim Bell is a marvel. Like his previous work, it dazzles us. . . . He is incapable of setting down a line that’s less than luminous. Pilgrim Bell is destined to become a classic, another blazing torch added to the eternal flames."—Mary Karr
- “Pilgrim Bell is a book that chooses honesty over beauty, which makes it a breathtaking text.”—Hanif Abdurraqib