Anahita Jamali Rad’s debut book of poetry juxtaposes Marxist economics with pop culture lyrics, from FKA Twigs to Sonic Youth, tangling the "You & I" of relationships and social identification. She asks: How is it possible to communicate when the "I" speaks from the margins? Who is the "I" when Motown’s doo-wop and post-punk’s Telecaster jangles shake up the body’s rhythm?
for love and autonomy speaks from a place of discomfort, where internalized pop songs mutate communication and meaning under the guises of individuality and romanticism. Jamali Rad’s "I" is highly textured, musical, and suspect. Her poems bring us together with their rebellious voices – only to push us away into alienation when mimicry falls flat, when the "I" loses its context, when we become oppressed, thingified, dependent, and belligerent.
Jamali Rad deals with the stuff of everyday life: work and sex, friendship and love. Her critical attention to the structure of these social relations creates a poetics of trial and failure, questioning the very "culture" responsible for its making as she forges a way for the possibility of radical resistance in language.
Anahita Jamali Rad was born in Shiraz, Iran and now lives on unceded Coast Salish Territories a.k.a. Vancouver. Anahita Jamali Rad is the author and binder of handmade chapbooks such as, Un In Uni Form, You and Me Baby, Patterns, Heart/Felt/Poems, and say what you like about my glasses, but i never get drunk and drank confused when i’m out with the working classes. Alongside Danielle LaFrance, she co-organises the women’s critical reading and discussion group, About a Bicycle, and co-edits a biannual journal of the same name. She studied Philosophy at the University of British Columbia and is currently doing a diploma in Publishing at Langara College.
Wildly smart, dark and funny … thick with theory … Part of what impresses about this collection is the way in which it writes so deeply around and through the complexities of its subject, utilizing prose, short lined lyrics and fragments to write out such a multi-faceted book-length poem on the combined physical, social and political acts of simply ‘being.’ There is such a deep engagement in these poems, as well as real questions about the autonomous body, social responsibilities and potential actions, and whether or not freedom and/or free will is even possible within the framework of civil society. —rob mclennan
“Urgent and incising, these poems follow wide swaths of form and expression through a Marxist and Post-Marxist love and search for equality. They are as intimately woven scenes uttered after the cruelty of human bondage as they are vilifying critiques of the society that does not end and mauls us all. They are in part confessional as we are all confessional, and these poems are also in part movements toward a future where the liberation of poetry binds us together, and not to the oppressor. … The poetry is refreshing. Whether stark, disjointed and grammatically voided columns, or impressions of stanza blocks cascading from segment to segment, this poetry is its own. … for love and autonomy is a collection that will remain relevant for if ‘we’ are ‘we’ and if ‘us’ are ‘us’ its crystalline multiplicity of facets will inspire the reader into consistent action and revision of action.”
–Queen Mob’s Tea House
“In For Love And Autonomy, [Jamali Rad] performs a sustained critique of the self-evident and self-determining quality of the lyric subject. … [She asks] what love, what autonomy, what poetry is possible under the conditions of late capitalism? … The poems in For Love And Autonomy function, often simultaneously, in two distinct registers: an analytic register, to lay bare their own implication in the field of capitalist production and the extent to which they are implicated in it; and a poetic or ethical register, to feel out what it is possible to say or do, or what should be said or done in response to a world overrun by capitalism. This twofold critique excruciatingly charts the powerlessness of life in this historical moment. … Jamali Rad is unflinching in mapping the extent to which life is subordinated to work. … a harrowing but nevertheless compelling collection.”
—Debutantes: Reviewing New Voices in Poetry
“The most intriguing section of the collection’s ten is probably “post-harem heavy breathing,” built on fragmented, often unfinished or overlapping lines (“no I won’t / shed a tear / gas or shot / with rubber”). Each poem title is taken from the previous poem, creating a mise en abyme… The shattered prose evokes bombshells or the exploded consciousness of the disenfranchised, as well as the panting of a panicked or aroused character.”
"Anahita Jamali Rad paces traces turns feminist Marxist utopian poetics politics on their / our ears."
— J.R. Carpenter