Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real by Moez Surani

Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real by Moez Surani

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Publication Date: October 9, 2019
84 pages
7.75 x 5.25 inches
ISBN 9781771665384

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Amidst the dangers of figurative language, the coercion of sentimentality, and the insidious freight of abstraction, these poems embody the necessity for the critical, the communal, the real. Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real uses conceptual critiques of public discourse and experimental social cartographies, as well as lyrics of intimacy, to defy prescribed ways of being. This is an act of resistance against dangerous and domineering narratives, and the power they inscribe.

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Praise for Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real

“Moez Surani’s Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real is a brilliant collection of poetry that oscillates between rich insight and deep tenderness. A mesmerizing, beautiful book.” Jordan Abel, Griffin Poetry Prize-winning author of Injun

“Moez Surani has boundless enthusiasm for life, cities, nature, politics, and art. He is an explorer. Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real obsessively catalogues these explorations in an attempt to preserve our world, both personal and political, in its complexity. Surani leaves us a record of conversations, of the days he was in love, of the kilometers between himself and his ancestors, even of phone numbers to call for happiness. (I hope someone calls.)  He chronicles the news of our time: KKK endorsements, Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance, Yemeni refugees, the waning American empire.” Ian Williams, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of Reproduction

“There’s a restless soul at the heart of this book, a twitchy guide, ill at ease in the world, someone whose words has me mumbling, “I know, I know.” He guides the reader across continents, in and out of kitchens, where we take comfort and tea with a companion we’ve found along the way. He invites us across various poetic terrains, too, so that the frustration teased out through a lyric flourish is on the next page put to bed in a poem concrete. The real river in these poems is a searching, a dedication to staying open to possibility with the hope that a better world might be, and it just might be poetry that helps us find it.” Magdalena Zurawski, author of The Tiniest Muzzle Sings Songs of Freedom

Press Coverage:

35 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in Fall 2019 Deborah Dundas, The Toronto Star

23 Collections of Canadian Poetry to Watch for this Fall CBC Books

Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Poetry Preview 49th Shelf

2019 Best Books of the Year: Recommended Reading Lists Rawi Hage, Writers’ Trust of Canada

Celebration of Canadian Poetry: Alex Porco presents Moez Surani Brick Books

Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real offers a mixture of poetic styles and approaches in affecting, thoughtful poems that work hard to interrogate themselves even as they interrogate you.” Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press

Vallum 2019 Year in Review: Part One Vallum Contemporary Poetry

“There’s an urgency and immediacy to Moez Surani’s fourth collection of poems, in which he grapples with the relationship of poetry and its abstractions to reality.” Barbara Carey, Toronto Star

Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real is a book of thoughtful, serious play, one that carries a meditative weight but isn’t overwhelmed by it.” rob mclennan’s blog

The Chat with Moez Surani 49th Shelf

“Abstract poetic images, maps, and even paintings of words populate this volume; some poems are lists of dates, times, phone numbers. But at the end of his collection, Surani moves away from this metaphysical concentration via criticism — his final poem concludes with a call to writers: “Leave aside what’s rhetorical / and metaphoric / and settle for nothing / until the vectors of power are even.” Gabriela Portillo Alvarado, Jacket 2

Nick Thran Reviews New Poetry Collections from Oana Avasilichioaei and Moez Surani Event Magazine

A ‘best of’ list of 2020 Canadian poetry books rob mclennan, dusie

Moez Surani’s writing has been published internationally, including in Harper’s Magazine, the Awl, Best American Experimental Writing 2016, Best Canadian Poetry (2013 and 2014), and the Globe and Mail. He has received a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, which supported research in India and East Africa, and has been an Artist-in-Residence in Burma, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Taiwan, Switzerland, as well as the Banff Centre for the Arts. He is the author of three poetry books: Reticent Bodies (2009), Floating Life (2012), and Operations (2016), which is comprised of the names of military operations and reveals a globe-spanning inventory of the contemporary rhetoric of violence. Surani lives in Toronto.

Additional information

Dimensions 7.75 × 5.25 in