Paperback Price: 16.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-938584-67-1


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Calling a Wolf a Wolf


Forthcoming September 2017

“A breathtaking addition to the canon of addiction literature, Akbar’s poetry confronts the pain and joy in denying oneself for the sake of oneself…Akbar’s poems offer readers, religious or not, a way to cultivate faith in times of deepest fear.”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“…Akbar proves what books can do in his exceptional debut, which brings us along on his struggle with addiction, a dangerous comfort and soul-eating monster he addresses boldly…”
Library Journal, STARRED review

“Here, in his forthcoming Calling a Wolf a Wolf, more than any other lens of identity, the alcoholic steps into the spotlight. But the genius is his allowing all the many cultures that are contained and challenged within the identifier of addict to play well together. In this way gender, sexuality, ethnicity even, are subverted, bypassed, and somehow also honored.”
VQR Online

“This debut collection 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.”
The Rumpus

“Akbar has what every poet needs: the power to make, from emotions that others have felt, memorable language that nobody has assembled before.”
—Steph Burt, The Yale Review

“Kaveh Akbar’s poems are packed in salt, his language a wild arrangement of brine dredged from the pool of consciousness ensconced in a personal anguish, poured through the filter of this world…”
Poetry International

“This highly anticipated debut boldly confronts addiction and traces the strenuous path of recovery. Akbar details craving, control, the battle for sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this constant fight.”
-Publishers Weekly

“The struggle from late youth on, with and without God, agony, narcotics and love is a torment rarely recorded with such sustained eloquence and passion as you will find in this collection.”
—Fanny Howe, Second Childhood

“You can open this stunning debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, anywhere and find the critical tenderness that permeates Kaveh Akbar’s work. The work here means to go out on limbs, be it to fling blossoms, chew fireflies, or to push old nests into the river once the rearing is done. There is an engagement here with faith that extends beyond religion. The poet engages the Wolf in much the same way as creator, whom he tells us “loves the hungry more than the full.” Akbar’s poems are as reverent and irreverent in the face of addiction as they are in the search for self. The poems have as much audacity as humility, a rare mix of openness in a time of flinching anxiety.”
–francine j. harris

“Kaveh Akbar has evolved a poetics that (often) suggests the infinite within each object, gesture, event. The smallest thing in these poems pushes one up against something intractable and profound. Surface and depth constantly turn into each other. Narrative, the dilemmas of personal history and anguish are handled with equal sophistication. “Odd, for an apocalypse to announce itself with such bounty.” This is bounty, an intensely inventive and original debut.”
—Frank Bidart

In Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar exquisitely and tenaciously braids astonishment and atonement into a singular lyric voice. The desolation of alcoholism widens into hard-won insight: ‘the body is a mosque borrowed from Heaven.’ Doubt and fear spiral into grace and beauty. Akbar’s mind, like his language, is perpetually in motion. His imagery— wounded and resplendent—is masterful and his syntax ensnares and releases music that’s both delicate and muscular. Kaveh Akbar has crafted one of the best debuts in recent memory. In his hands, awe and redemption hinge into unforgettable and gorgeous poems.”
—Eduardo C. Corral

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