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Kaveh Akbar

Kaveh Akbar’s poems appear in the New Yorker, Poetry, the New Republic, Best American Poetry, the New York Times, and elsewhere. He is the author of the book Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James, 2017) and the chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic (Sibling Rivalry, 2017). A recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, Akbar is the founding editor of Divedapper. Born in Tehran, Iran, he currently teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson College.



Summer 2018 | Poetry

The stillness you prize.
Won’t prize you back. Two beefsteaks.
Ripening on a windowsill. A purple tray.
Piled with coal. From the field.
Of solemn brothers calling.
Your name in unison you learn.
Men are irrelevant but.
Persistent symmetries are not.

Reza’s Restaurant, Chicago, 1997

Summer 2018 | Poetry

           the waiters milled about filling sumacshakers clearing away plates of onion andradish           my father pointed to each person whisperedPersian about the old man with the silver [...]

Tower of Babel

Spring 2017 | Poetry

My reward for waking: close walls
and limestone dust, spit
evaporating from my tongue. First

I count and recount
my toes, throw out grain
for the carp, snatch a femur


Spring 2017 | Poetry

go ahead tread on me
see if I care I am already
unhuggable as a cactus
and too big to fit on any
lap keep your excuses
short or better yet keep
them to yourself any

The New World

Fall 2016 | Poetry

Do I have to talk about fear? 
So much has already been said 
about hidden spiders, compass needles
lodged in the soft of an eye. 

Look, the Human Is Shrinking

Fall 2016 | Poetry

It’s normal to do it alone, the feint-and-jab
           of forgetting. I believe in only what I can recite 

from memory, like the ninety-nine names
           for thirst: soft-hell, root-torn-from-soil, rain-

Against Vanity

Fall 2016 | Poetry

Away from the cruel magnification
            of a shaving mirror, I clean up well.
I am content with orange teeth and salty
            skin, with having borrowed my beauty 

            from the ocean. See my kelpy eyes, the pearl
on my tongue? Flatter me, flatterer! I still care 
            about dignity, like a blindfolded duke
being led to the gallows. It’s hard not to smile