A Burst of Song: Poetry of Kaveh Akbar

“listen / to make life first you need a dying star / this seems important with you so close to / collapsing yourself the mute swan’s final / burst of song” – from “Portrait of the Alcoholic with Moths and River”, Thrush

“. . . even God forgets God he /sucks a ruby to remind // him who he is I am comfortable
/ with decay as we all must // be here where glass shatters /back into sand” – from “Landscape with Winter and Nosebleed”, [Pank]

I recently came across Kaveh Akbar through his website, Divedapper, where I read an interview with him and Ocean Vuong, another of my most recent favorite poets to read (interview). I was impressed, not only by his informal appreciation and wild gratitude for poetry, by his own work. He has a solemn voice and clear, tangible feeling for each gut-stabbing image. He hardly ever uses punctuation, which adds to the effect of never reading the same line twice the same way. He often speaks through landscapes, alcoholism or the voice of one who has/did suffer(ed) through it, and a remarkable way of surprising a reader into awe.

 

I want to specifically praise his work as well as his activism in the poetry community. He stands in the crux of a time where politics is often a one-sided yelling match across an isle of two American ideologies. He is able to purvey a sense of humanity in his political poems that rebuttals issues important to many poets and their readers. In an interview with The Georgia Review, Akbar states “Poetry is deeply democratic—it can exist in the mind alone, and it’s therefore infinitely potent as a political haven.”

For this amazing, emerging poet, the divide between politics and poetry is non-existent. It is clear and cutting in his work. The musicality in his work rends the heart to the measure of both awe and the feeling of solitude within the words. I deeply respect this poet and his work. Look for him in a journal near you or find him at his website.

 

 

 

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