Monday, July 18, 2016

Anis Shivani and Jonathan Moody at FPL: August 4

Anis Shivani and Jonathan Moody will be featured poets at our next Off the Page Poetry series on Thursday, August 4 at 7pm. 

Anis Shivani’s books include Anatolia and Other Stories, The Fifth Lash and Other Stories, My Tranquil War and Other Poems, Karachi Raj: A Novel, Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish: Poems, and Soraya: Sonnets. Books forthcoming in 2016 include Both Sides of the Divide: Observing the Sublime and the Mundane in Contemporary Writing and the novel A History of the Cat in Nine Chapters or Less. Anis’s work appears recently in Western Humanities Review, New Letters, Subtropics, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Boulevard, AGNI, Georgia Review, Threepenny Review, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Yale Review, and elsewhere. He is the winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, graduated from Harvard College, and currently lives in Houston, Texas. 

Soraya is repetition (100 sonnets in exactly the same style) and collage (fragments of verbal fusillades from dictionaries), as is the wont of postmodernism, and it also sets itself constraints (each sonnet has some consistent peculiarities, such as the recurrence of Soraya in the octave and the sestet, the close juxtaposition of certain discourses such as medieval medicine and 20th-century science, etc.) as a way of liberation, which is true of
Oulipo and other ‘mechanically-generated’ poetry of the latter half of the 20th century. But more than that I see Soraya as a specifically postcolonial book; the kind of constraint it operates under is almost a reflection of the constraints imposed upon the narrated self or the colonised subjectivity, and it appropriates the constraints not in a merely parodistic way but as a way of declaring freedom.from


Do you know the right color temperature
to make Colorado and its pathetic fallacy
transparent? Who is patently on our candid
sunbathing side? Visions of sump in which,
Soraya, alienated from the solstice of weight,
the fovea at last perceives the femme fatale,
Fata Morgana in the fat city. Fatimid endpaper
is as good as effleurage to my face.
Soraya (delta rhythms free like cucumber
mosaic) why is sleep our costume of pairing?
In the councils of mutism, the muzhiks’
nausea is nugget of the nuclear age proven
like pseudorabies: rainfall on raking light,
the raised beach at the end of the rainbow.

More Anis Shivani:
Anis Shivani at FPL's Off the Page Poetry series