I found myself writing down words and sentences on scraps of paper as I read Kaveh Akbar's debut collection of poetry. More an act of devotion than habit, I wanted to keep his words close. While addiction and recovery form the central thesis of Akbar's work, it's the manner in which he mines the unreliable taxonomies of desire, want, and need that took me over. The title of the collection comes from an exquisite line in one of the poems: "Thinking if it had a problem it might have a solution/ thinking if I called a wolf a wolf I might dull its fangs.” A paean to the ineffable, the elusive, the sometimes maddening limits of language and its infinite imperfections that can make your head hurt and your heart break.— From Em
2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Gold Winner
2018 Levis Reading Prize Winner
2017 Julie Suk Award Winner
A 2017 Nautilus Silver Award Winner
2017 Florida Book Award Gold Winner
A 2018 First Horizon Award Winner
Winner of the 2017 John C. Zacharis First Book Award
A 2018 Montaigne Medal Finalist
A 2017 NPR Best Book of the Year
A 2017 Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A 2017 Entropy Magazine Best Book of the Year
A 2017 The Coil Best Book of the Year
A 2017 Interview Best Book of the YearAddiction. Recovery. Repeat. Akbar blazes the poetry scene with this introspective, powerful, and passionate debut. This highly-anticipated debut boldly confronts addiction and courses the strenuous path of recovery, beginning in the wilds of the mind. Poems confront craving, control, the constant battle of alcoholism and sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this never-ending fight.
from "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before"
Sometimes you just have to leave
whatever's real to you, you have to clomp
through fields and kick the caps off
all the toadstools. Sometimes
you have to march all the way to Galilee
or the literal foot of God himself before you realize
you've already passed the place where
you were supposed to die. I can no longer remember
the being afraid, only that it came to an end.