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Pilgrim Bell: Poems

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Kaveh Akbar’s exquisite, highly anticipated follow-up to Calling a Wolf a Wolf 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 sel Kaveh Akbar’s exquisite, highly anticipated follow-up to Calling a Wolf a Wolf 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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Kaveh Akbar’s exquisite, highly anticipated follow-up to Calling a Wolf a Wolf 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 sel Kaveh Akbar’s exquisite, highly anticipated follow-up to Calling a Wolf a Wolf 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.

30 review for Pilgrim Bell: Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    Kaveh Akbar has spoken about poetry operating as a spiritual technology in his own life, an idea he explores in Pilgrim Bell. Many poems here read as prayers, some explicitly so. Akbar reckons with his Islamic faith, past addictions, family, and the lure of America. With this collection, his second, Akbar is finding his voice.

  2. 4 out of 5

    elisa

    not sure what it is about kaveh akbar (everything?), but his poetry tickles my brain in a way that cannot be explained or compared to any of my other poetry-reading experiences. i love the way that he wields language, i love that his collections compel me to reconsider the world at a new slant, and i love that tenderness imbues every inch of his work, even as we are delivered swiftly to our suffering: You travel and bring back silk scarves, a bag of chocolates for you-don't-know-who-yet. Some not sure what it is about kaveh akbar (everything?), but his poetry tickles my brain in a way that cannot be explained or compared to any of my other poetry-reading experiences. i love the way that he wields language, i love that his collections compel me to reconsider the world at a new slant, and i love that tenderness imbues every inch of his work, even as we are delivered swiftly to our suffering: You travel and bring back silk scarves, a bag of chocolates for you-don't-know-who-yet. Someone will want them. Deliver them to an empty field. You fall asleep facing the freckle on your wrist. — Now watch these hands through your blood—jealous moths. How do they heaven, upset like that? — Kneeling on coins / before the minor deity in the mirror. / Clueless as a pearl. / That the prophet arrived not to ease our suffering / but to experience it seems—can I say this?— / a waste? — It's so unsettling / to feel anything but good. / I wish I was only as cruel as / the first time I noticed / I was cruel, waving my tiny / shadow over a pond to scare / the copper minnows. — There are only / two bones in the throat, and that's / if you count the clavicle. This / seems unsafe, overdelicate, / like I ought to ask for / a third. — Consider our whole galaxy / staked in place by a single star. I fear / we haven't said nearly enough about that. — There are no good kings. / Only beautiful palaces. — 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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    I'll have to dive into this one again soon as it bears rereading thanks to so much going on. Religious stuff (Islam), political stuff (America), addiction stuff (Akbar's own life). But mostly word stuff (more on that ahead). The first poem, one of many title poems called "Pilgrim Bell," takes a page out of Anne Carson's book by using periods that don't stop the reader and SHOULDN'T stop the reader if the reader hopes to make any sense out of the poem. Example: Dark on both sides. Makes a window. Int I'll have to dive into this one again soon as it bears rereading thanks to so much going on. Religious stuff (Islam), political stuff (America), addiction stuff (Akbar's own life). But mostly word stuff (more on that ahead). The first poem, one of many title poems called "Pilgrim Bell," takes a page out of Anne Carson's book by using periods that don't stop the reader and SHOULDN'T stop the reader if the reader hopes to make any sense out of the poem. Example: Dark on both sides. Makes a window. Into a mirror. A man. Holds his palms out. To gather dew. Through the night. Uses it. To wash before. Dawn prayer. Et cetera. Like Carson, he does it because he can. And to make a point about periods. Like they rule our lives with their rules. And. Dammit. The Empire. In the form of Kaveh Akbar. Has struck back. OK, OK. Enough. I got used to it in Carson's terrific poetry and it was easy to adjust to here. Plus, he only did this on all of the "Pilgrim Bell" poems vs. every poem in the book, so it's not a periodical poetry collection. And he did embrace word play, which I really like in a poet. For instance, a small example: Who here could claim to be merely guilty? The mere. Sure, you could eye-roll that, but I chuckle at it and virtually high-five the poet for it. After all, if a poet can't play with words, who can? Plenty of this book is a visual journey, too. An entire poem written backwards. Another as a square. Ones with jumps. All manner of indentations. Space as the final (white) frontiers. Waterfalls of words. Stinginess with words. Invectives. Self-incriminations. Leaps of faith. Proclamations of guilt. In short, a lot going on meaning a lot to mull. The kind a first reading doesn't quite digest at first chew.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    My Shelf Awareness review: This second poetry collection by Kaveh Akbar is a playful and profound meditation on life as a Muslim American. Scriptural themes and echoes abound here. Prose poem "The Miracle" is about Muhammad the Prophet, an illiterate man who nevertheless read God's words at an angel's command. Akbar ponders the fears and addictions that hold people back from assenting to revelation. The multi-part title piece probes identity, forgiveness and vulnerability. Its short, punctuated p My Shelf Awareness review: This second poetry collection by Kaveh Akbar is a playful and profound meditation on life as a Muslim American. Scriptural themes and echoes abound here. Prose poem "The Miracle" is about Muhammad the Prophet, an illiterate man who nevertheless read God's words at an angel's command. Akbar ponders the fears and addictions that hold people back from assenting to revelation. The multi-part title piece probes identity, forgiveness and vulnerability. Its short, punctuated phrases suggest timid determination: "All day I hammer the distance./ Between earth and me./ Into faith." Yet cynical skepticism is never far behind; "Ask me again/ about my doubt--turquoise/ today and almond-hard," he invites in the later poem "There Is No Such Thing as an Accident of the Spirit." Farsi is a recurring point of reference, and "There Are 7,000 Living Languages" and other poems attest to the relativity and sensuality of language. The final entry, "The Palace," presents the USA as a land of opportunity--but with costs. Akbar's father left Iran not knowing if he'd ever see his siblings again. How was this immigrant family to feel at home when some Americans casually joke about bombing the poet's birthplace of Tehran? Food, plants, animals and the body supply the book's imagery. Wordplay and startling juxtapositions ("my turn-ons/ include Rumi and fake leather") lend lightness to a wistful, intimate collection of 35 poems that seek belonging and belief. Readers should get a mirror out to read "In the Language of Mammon"--it's printed backwards--but keep it at hand for reflecting on their own challenges of faith and family. (Posted with permission from Shelf Awareness.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Ugh, I don't know how, but Kaveh Akbar has done it again with his second collection. I love how much you can trust his lines. I love how simultaneously immersed these poems are in the political and the personal and the spiritual, how they speak generously to this moment without an overt urgency, how they manage to prioritize beauty in language in the midst of all this and an at times ugly honesty about the world. He's truly doing it all, and is absolutely one of my favorite poets. Read this, rea Ugh, I don't know how, but Kaveh Akbar has done it again with his second collection. I love how much you can trust his lines. I love how simultaneously immersed these poems are in the political and the personal and the spiritual, how they speak generously to this moment without an overt urgency, how they manage to prioritize beauty in language in the midst of all this and an at times ugly honesty about the world. He's truly doing it all, and is absolutely one of my favorite poets. Read this, read it again and again.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    If you spent five years alone in a room thinking about these two stanzas from "The Miracle," that seems like it would be the appropriate way/amount of time to think about them: Gabriel seizing the illiterate man, alone and fasting in a cave, and commanding READ, the man saying I can't, Gabriel squeezing him tighter, commanding READ, the man gasping I don't know how, Gabriel squeezing him so tight he couldn't breathe, squeezing out the air of protest, the air of doubt, crushing it out of his crush If you spent five years alone in a room thinking about these two stanzas from "The Miracle," that seems like it would be the appropriate way/amount of time to think about them: Gabriel seizing the illiterate man, alone and fasting in a cave, and commanding READ, the man saying I can't, Gabriel squeezing him tighter, commanding READ, the man gasping I don't know how, Gabriel squeezing him so tight he couldn't breathe, squeezing out the air of protest, the air of doubt, crushing it out of his crushable human body, saying READ IN THE NAME OF YOUR LORD WHO CREATED YOU FROM A CLOT, and thus: literacy. Revelation. It wasn't until Gabriel squeezed away what was empty in him that the Prophet could be filled with miracle. Imagine the emptiness in you, the vast cavities you have spent your life trying to fill--with fathers, mothers, lovers, language, drugs, money, art, praise--and imagine them gone. What's left? Whatever you aren't, which is what makes you--a house useful not because its floorboards or ceilings or walls, but because the empty space in them.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jatan

    A more spiritual version of Jeet Thayil’s poetry, with a stylized academic (putting that MFA to good use I suppose) touch.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Il’ia

    kaveh akbar is one of my favorite living poets, so i was very excited to read this. the poems in the first section didn’t quite do it for me (with notable exception of “reza’s restaurant, chicago, 1997”). in the following sections, i was floored by almost every poem, and i say this as someone who hasn’t been able to quite read poetry in the past two years. brilliant brilliant brilliant.

  9. 4 out of 5

    BookChampions

    In keeping with a promise I made to myself, in which I was challenged to take a pause on the audiobook facet of my reading and spend more time with the Poetry Foundation's VS podcast, I've now listened to 17 episodes. I spent two weeks with the ebullient laughter of Franny Choi and Danez Smith, and learned about several new poets I can't wait to read. One of my fave episodes was an early one with Kaveh Akbar. Akbar, whose debut I gave a 5 star review to several years ago, strikes me as a person w In keeping with a promise I made to myself, in which I was challenged to take a pause on the audiobook facet of my reading and spend more time with the Poetry Foundation's VS podcast, I've now listened to 17 episodes. I spent two weeks with the ebullient laughter of Franny Choi and Danez Smith, and learned about several new poets I can't wait to read. One of my fave episodes was an early one with Kaveh Akbar. Akbar, whose debut I gave a 5 star review to several years ago, strikes me as a person who is intensely, even infectiously curious. My favourite human quality! After spending a lot of time with his newest collection, *Pilgrim Bell*, I can say my admiration is justified, both in his incessant search for poetry's sustainable power and in how he seems to open spaces with his questioning. I'm sure he is an amazing professor. *Pilgrim Bell* was a challenging, weighty read about a man's quest for and quest-ions about spiritually. Although none are labeled as such, each poem almost acts as an individual's prayer, begging the reader to not join him in recitation but to listen to the poetry within our own unspoken prayers. I listened to two additional interviews with Akbar to help me understand his vision, which I'd recommend. I believe that's part of the point here---a text that asks us to listen hard and be open to what isn't initially apparent to be unearthed, but to also keep digging. I've spent a few days trying to find the words to capture how this work bewitched me. I still feel there is more to say so please share your thoughts if you've read this. I feel like each time I return to these poems, I'll find tons of new things left to wonder. If you are looking for earnest poetry engaged with its whole heart with unanswerable questions around spirituality, border-crossing, and the human capacity to shape the lives we have been given, I invite you to seek out *Pilgrim Bell*.

  10. 4 out of 5

    hadyeh | هَدیه

    i read this collection mostly on walks by the water and intermittently out loud, which i think was the only way i could bear it

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom C.

    Such an amazing young poet. He's a great metaphorist. Sometimes he's funny. Sometimes kind of shocking. More often he's wise, mystical. Here are some of my favorite lines, from a poem called "My Father's Accent": "On first inspecting Adam, the devil entered his lips. Watch: the devil enters Adam's lips, crawls through his throat, through his guts to finally emerge out his anus. He's all hollow! the devil giggles. He knows his job will be easy, a human just one long desperation to be filled." In several Such an amazing young poet. He's a great metaphorist. Sometimes he's funny. Sometimes kind of shocking. More often he's wise, mystical. Here are some of my favorite lines, from a poem called "My Father's Accent": "On first inspecting Adam, the devil entered his lips. Watch: the devil enters Adam's lips, crawls through his throat, through his guts to finally emerge out his anus. He's all hollow! the devil giggles. He knows his job will be easy, a human just one long desperation to be filled." In several poems called "Pilgrim Bell", he uses periods midsentence, like so: "With sound. A silver ring. Lost in the bedsheets is still. A silver ring. You can either be. More holy or more full but. Not both. See how the hot. Element glows red. How. Honey cools the tea. Suppose..." After reading five or six poems like this, I started wondering Why does. Kaveh keep. Doing this. Shit. But I mean, maybe there's a reason. Probably there's a good reason. At least he's trying some different. Things. Out. When a lot of poets just sort of run in place for decades at a time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chahna

    idk what is it about Kaveh Akbar and his poems that makes me love them even when I don't completely understand them. This collection was so different from his first one and yet there was so much that made me go HOLYY FUCK like last time. I know I have to spend a lot more time with this book to actually... digest it? squeeze all the juice out of it? Understand it? The tone of the book is set right from the epigraph which reads: 'Any text that is not a holy text is an apostasy. Then it is a holy te idk what is it about Kaveh Akbar and his poems that makes me love them even when I don't completely understand them. This collection was so different from his first one and yet there was so much that made me go HOLYY FUCK like last time. I know I have to spend a lot more time with this book to actually... digest it? squeeze all the juice out of it? Understand it? The tone of the book is set right from the epigraph which reads: 'Any text that is not a holy text is an apostasy. Then it is a holy text.' There were so many poems that I loved right off the bat! The Miracle (so good!), The Palace, Despite My Efforts Even My Prayers Have Turned Into Threats, My father's accent, Reza's Restaurant. Omg. There were few poems that I had read before and loved. 'Forfeiting My Mystique' being one of them, which was the first poem of his I ever read. The ending was changed and I am not sure how I feel about that yet. I loved that he experimented with the form, like, one poem was written backward (or like a mirror image?) which reminded me of how my brother had taught himself to write like that without the help of a mirror years ago. One poem was in form of a square, it was called 'Palace Mosque, Frozen.' There were some gazals that were ACTUAL GAZALS! Finally! It had so many lines that punch you right in the gut. Idk idk I am just going to read this book so many more times. And maybe then I will mark it 5 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kailee Haong

    I was so excited to pick up this collection ever since I first read “The Palace” in the New Yorker and heard Akbar read it live. It’s possibly one of my favorite poems ever. It delves deeply into spirituality and humanity. I can’t say much more critically, because I don’t consider myself a poet, but this is an amazing collection that I will cherish. Akbar is a beautiful writer and his poems are extremely melodic.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ace Boggess

    This book advances what Calling a Wolf a Wolf began: the establishment of Kaveh Akbar as one of the greatest authors alive today. This book, like Wolf, is not only compelling and musical, it is also completely accessible and deeply moving. I recommend this book for anyone. It's filled with beauty in every line. A true gem of a collection. This book advances what Calling a Wolf a Wolf began: the establishment of Kaveh Akbar as one of the greatest authors alive today. This book, like Wolf, is not only compelling and musical, it is also completely accessible and deeply moving. I recommend this book for anyone. It's filled with beauty in every line. A true gem of a collection.

  15. 5 out of 5

    hodges

    read this in a single sitting. urgent and incredible, and SO much play with form—getting up to read ‘in the language of mammon’ with a mirror made me so terrible happy. favorite poem overall is likely ‘the miracle.’

  16. 4 out of 5

    George Abraham

    I was reading this book on a long string of busses while commuting and, without exaggeration, it started raining on me while I was sitting outside waiting for a bus but I was too drawn into the book to even notice. So much care and love in these poems. A must-read!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    sara

    Pilgrim Bell feels like a meditation on one's access to spirituality in relation to cruelty and power; searching for connection and questioning its absence. Curious and contemplative, Akhbar's use of language marvels, as always. This time forcing us to kneel. Favorite: "Reza's Restaurant, Chicago 1997" (It took me the first half to adjust to the mood. Planning on a reread.) (Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.) Pilgrim Bell feels like a meditation on one's access to spirituality in relation to cruelty and power; searching for connection and questioning its absence. Curious and contemplative, Akhbar's use of language marvels, as always. This time forcing us to kneel. Favorite: "Reza's Restaurant, Chicago 1997" (It took me the first half to adjust to the mood. Planning on a reread.) (Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keely

    3.5 In this new collection, Kaveh Akbar continues to deliver stunningly original poems with a mystical quality to them. As in Calling a Wolf a Wolf, the collection is punctuated by poems bearing a recurring title--in this case, "Pilgrim Bell." In these, Akbar experiments with hyper-punctuation--periods popping up in the middle of thoughts, hitting pause on the read. Throughout the collection, Akbar's phrasing and imagery are stark and jarring, even ugly at times, and the overall tone of the book 3.5 In this new collection, Kaveh Akbar continues to deliver stunningly original poems with a mystical quality to them. As in Calling a Wolf a Wolf, the collection is punctuated by poems bearing a recurring title--in this case, "Pilgrim Bell." In these, Akbar experiments with hyper-punctuation--periods popping up in the middle of thoughts, hitting pause on the read. Throughout the collection, Akbar's phrasing and imagery are stark and jarring, even ugly at times, and the overall tone of the book is bleak and despairing. This isn't a bad thing, but I found myself not in the mood for it. There are a number of experimental poems, notably "Palace Mosque, Frozen," which is rendered in squares, so that you have to turn the book to read it (or else rely on your upside-down reading skills), and "In the Language of Mammon," which is printed backwards, requiring you to hold it up to a mirror to read it easily. Not surprisingly (for me), I was drawn to the more straightforward, accessible poems in the collection, especially "Reza's Restaurant, Chicago, 1997," "My Empire," "Forfeiting My Mystique," "Cotton Candy," and "How Prayer Works." Many of the poems simply left me scratching my head and wondering what to make of them. Calling a Wolf a Wolf was similar in this respect, but somehow, I found much more to connect to emotionally in that book, so it didn't matter to me as much when I didn't understand everything. I still admire Akbar's originality, but I didn't love this follow-up.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    “I wish I was only as cruel as the first time I noticed I was cruel, waving my tiny shadow over a pond to scare the copper minnows…” (31) This is truly one of the most sacrilegious yet somehow prophetic and hilarious and profoundly sad collections of poetry I’ve read in recent memory. It’s provocative and evocative, taking and giving, moving and giving pause, full and empty, deafening and so quiet. This is such a timely collection, full of reflections on society and self and the barriers we do and do “I wish I was only as cruel as the first time I noticed I was cruel, waving my tiny shadow over a pond to scare the copper minnows…” (31) This is truly one of the most sacrilegious yet somehow prophetic and hilarious and profoundly sad collections of poetry I’ve read in recent memory. It’s provocative and evocative, taking and giving, moving and giving pause, full and empty, deafening and so quiet. This is such a timely collection, full of reflections on society and self and the barriers we do and don’t, should and shouldn’t erect between the two. Some poems are prayers and others are meditations on the purpose of prayer and belief at all in such an awful, heretical world. This collection is mournful and grievous but also beautiful and lyrical even in its grief. There’s hope and acceptance; something more powerful than faith or “god”. Definitely recommend! A profound body of work!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bogi Takács

    I appreciated his earlier poems, so I picked up this volume right when I saw it on the library new acquisitions shelf. This is a very mature collection, firm and daring in its approach to its themes, and also on the sentence level. When it comes to sentences, I especially appreciated how syntactic ambiguity, rhythm and punctuation were handled in the Pilgrim Bell poems. That sounds more elaborate than saying "just wow," but feel free to imagine me sitting there going "JUST WOW", because that's w I appreciated his earlier poems, so I picked up this volume right when I saw it on the library new acquisitions shelf. This is a very mature collection, firm and daring in its approach to its themes, and also on the sentence level. When it comes to sentences, I especially appreciated how syntactic ambiguity, rhythm and punctuation were handled in the Pilgrim Bell poems. That sounds more elaborate than saying "just wow," but feel free to imagine me sitting there going "JUST WOW", because that's what happened. Really, really, really loved the engagement with religion too. I didn't realize he also edited an anthology of spiritual verse recently, I'll have to pick that book up as well. (The Sealey Challenge 2021 Day 9) _____ Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mike Walter

    I don’t read a lot of books of poetry but I’m damn glad I read this one. I’d learned about Kaveh Akbar from the Paris Review and picked up this book. His writing is brilliant. His imagery, sublime. His poetry, at turns gut-wrenching and beautiful. I read each poem twice, some three times, and found something new with every read. I love how Akbar at once celebrates and also questions institutions like religion, parenting and America. In feeling closer to his father, I also became closer to my own I don’t read a lot of books of poetry but I’m damn glad I read this one. I’d learned about Kaveh Akbar from the Paris Review and picked up this book. His writing is brilliant. His imagery, sublime. His poetry, at turns gut-wrenching and beautiful. I read each poem twice, some three times, and found something new with every read. I love how Akbar at once celebrates and also questions institutions like religion, parenting and America. In feeling closer to his father, I also became closer to my own. If you’re up for something different, something a little nonlinear, I’d highly recommend this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    16/31 Oh my. This one is wonderful. Immigration, sobriety, familial love, colonialism, faith, doubt, and some truly wonderful form. I am a little speechless with Akbar's new collection (just in time for the Sealey Challenge, YAY!). #SealeyChallenge #KakehAkbar https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20... from “My Empire" My empire made me happy because it was an empire, cruel, and the suffering wasn’t my own. 16/31 Oh my. This one is wonderful. Immigration, sobriety, familial love, colonialism, faith, doubt, and some truly wonderful form. I am a little speechless with Akbar's new collection (just in time for the Sealey Challenge, YAY!). #SealeyChallenge #KakehAkbar https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20... from “My Empire" My empire made me happy because it was an empire, cruel, and the suffering wasn’t my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Samuel

    Kaveh Akbar does it again. With poems like Mother I Once Was, My Empire, In the Language of Mammon, The Palace, and Despite My Efforts Even My Prayers Have Turned Into Threats, I'll be returning to this collection as much as I've found myself returning to "Calling a Wolf a Wolf." An important and necessary book. Kaveh Akbar does it again. With poems like Mother I Once Was, My Empire, In the Language of Mammon, The Palace, and Despite My Efforts Even My Prayers Have Turned Into Threats, I'll be returning to this collection as much as I've found myself returning to "Calling a Wolf a Wolf." An important and necessary book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Dee

    These poems are seemingly earthen. Upon reading Pilgrim Bell's epic conclusion, "The Palace,"* the body of work rises off the page and into the world as a golem following an inscription of truth. Pilgrim feels at once protective and all-too-powerful. *https://www.newyorker.com/books/poems... These poems are seemingly earthen. Upon reading Pilgrim Bell's epic conclusion, "The Palace,"* the body of work rises off the page and into the world as a golem following an inscription of truth. Pilgrim feels at once protective and all-too-powerful. *https://www.newyorker.com/books/poems...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Popsugar Reading Challenge Prompt: book by a Muslim American author I love poetry but I can never really review poetry because you either love it or loathe it. These poems are religiously tinged but speaks to the modern world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    William O'Neal II

    4.5! kaveh akbar is brilliant. the language in this book is very spider-webby and takes a few reads to trace how each line fits together but when you look at each poem as a whole, it's stunning. he isn't afraid to wrestle with the ugly and unabashedly call it what it is. 4.5! kaveh akbar is brilliant. the language in this book is very spider-webby and takes a few reads to trace how each line fits together but when you look at each poem as a whole, it's stunning. he isn't afraid to wrestle with the ugly and unabashedly call it what it is.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rifan

    Just what I need at the moment.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kat Dixon

    I started to list what I loved, but let's face it. That list went too long for these tired hands. I started to list what I loved, but let's face it. That list went too long for these tired hands.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Reading these poems is a holy & visceral experience. It is an honor to share a planet with Kaveh Akbar.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Crocker

    five-star review and recommendation are forthcoming with The Common's Friday Reads section five-star review and recommendation are forthcoming with The Common's Friday Reads section

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