A poet who constantly inspires me (I think I’ve written about him before — probably. I write A LOT of blog posts, remember?). SO — this poet is Kaveh Akbar, and his collection of poems is Calling A Wolf A Wolf. I have no idea how this book got into my hands (maybe I stole this one, too). But legitimately, I don’t remember how I acquired this collection. I just remember how I started reading it over summer.
I instantly loved Akbar’s work — so much I followed him on twitter (LOL), researched him, got his social security number… you know, the works. What I love most about him, and something that I try to mimic in my writing (key work: try), is the subversion he constantly brings after line breaks, or when creating an image. The juxtaposition of certain words, and phrases and things that don’t/shouldn’t go together, but do in poetry, is what propels me to keep reading his work — it is exciting. There is always the unexpected — expect the unexpected while reading his work.
Last year in workshop, before I even knew Akbar existed, and before I somehow acquired his book, I encountered one of his poems — and later when I read his collection, I realized why I hung onto this poem for so long — because it was his. Last semester, in workshop, there was a student named Jasmine, and she would go ALL OUT in letters, and annotations. She would suggest poems to look at, give people entire books, and print out pages on pages of work to compare yours to, and give you inspiration. For mine, I wrote a lot about alcohol (I dropped that this year — in workshop, at least), and she printed out a poem for me called “River of Milk” — I didn’t pay attention to the author (even though it was Akbar) and I just LOVED the poem. I loved the poem so much that I looked it up online, and tabbed it in my bookmarks — it is still there, and I read it from time to time. Then, when I got Calling A Wolf A Wolf, I loved that just the same. One day over the summer, I was like “hold on, I’ve read this before what is this it sounds SO familiar” — and I whipped out my computer, and looked at my tab and my mind was BLOWN that it was the same author — Kaveh Akbar. It was crazy that Jasmine had predicted I would love his poems, and that I bought his book later was just so insane to me as a person, reader, and writer.
Overall, I love Akbar’s work — and suggest it to anyone, and everyone. I try to mimic his subversions and pairs of images. All of which are purely satisfying, and masterful to me. Please consider what started it all, River of Milk, below.
River of Milk