Following Surani's previous collection Operations, which excavated the debasement done to language by nations worldwide, how does one return to using language for poetry? Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real responds to this question. Amidst the dangers of figurative language, the coercion of sentimentality and the insidious freight of abstraction, these poems embody the necessity for the critical, the communal, the real. This collection uses conceptual critiques of public discourse and experimental social cartographies, as well as lyrics of intimacy, to defy prescribed ways of being.
Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real is an act of resistance against dangerous and domineering narratives, and the power they inscribe.
Praise for Operations:
"A vast, invisible network of information spiderwebs out from each code word; Surani challenges readers to consider the world beneath this language, and the human toll it both illuminates and obscures." —Maisonneuve Magazine
Moez Surani's writing has been published internationally, including in Harper's Magazine, the Awl, Best American Experimental Writing 2016, Best Canadian Poetry (2013 and 2014), and the Globe and Mail. He has received a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, which supported research in India and East Africa, and has been an Artist-in-Residence in Burma, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Taiwan, Switzerland, as well as the Banff Centre for the Arts. He is the author of three poetry books: Reticent Bodies (2009), Floating Life (2012), and Operations (2016), which is comprised of the names of military operations and reveals a globe-spanning inventory of the contemporary rhetoric of violence. Surani lives in Toronto.