Finalist for the 2022 L.A. Times Book Prize for Poetry
Longlisted for the 2023 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
In Customs, Solmaz Sharif examines what it means to exist in the nowhere of the arrivals terminal, a continual series of checkpoints, officers, searches, and questionings that become a relentless experience of America. With resignation and austerity, these poems trace a pointed indoctrination to the customs of the nation-state and the English language, and the realities they impose upon the imagination, the paces they put us through. While Sharif critiques the culture of performed social skills and poetry itself—its foreclosures, affects, successes—she begins to write her way out to the other side of acceptability and toward freedom.
Customs is a brilliant, excoriating new collection by a poet whose unfolding works are among the groundbreaking literature of our time.
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Table of Contents
Dear Aleph 7
Social Skills Training 12
Dear Aleph 13
Persistence of Vision: Gwendolyn Brooks 15
Now What 17
Persistence of Vision: Televised Confession 19
He, Too 21
Dear Aleph 22
Learning Persian 24
Into English 29
The End of Exile 31
Without Which 35
The Master's House 59
Does yours have a landscape? 63
An Otherwise 65
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