I found myself writing down words and sentences on scraps of paper as I read Kaveh Akbar's debut collection of poetry. More an act of devotion than habit, I wanted to keep his words close. While addiction and recovery form the central thesis of Akbar's work, it's the manner in which he mines the unreliable taxonomies of desire, want, and need that took me over. The title of the collection comes from an exquisite line in one of the poems: "Thinking if it had a problem it might have a solution/ thinking if I called a wolf a wolf I might dull its fangs.” A paean to the ineffable, the elusive, the sometimes maddening limits of language and its infinite imperfections that can make your head hurt and your heart break.
Ann Leckie is so intelligent and so wise about the way she crafts her stories. What we have here is a slow burn fantasy novel told from the perspective of an ancient god that resides in a huge rock, a plot summary which does not sound even remotely exciting. But friends, I'm here to tell you that it is. You will see life evolve, languages emerge and change, cultures form and get subsumed, and religious worship come into being. There is war, there is blood sacrifice, there are fully developed queer / trans characters. There is the deep, echoing feeling that life existed before you were born and will continue after you die.