OCTOBERS (Pitt Poetry Series) (Paperback)

OCTOBERS (Pitt Poetry Series) By Sahar Muradi Cover Image
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Winner of the 2022 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry 

Octobers traces the four great tumults of the author’s life, all of which originated in that jagged month of different years: The US invasion and occupation of her native Afghanistan, the death of her father, the sudden end of a love, and the birth of her daughter. The poems chart heartbreak along a helix, progressively and recursively, where “echoes are inevitable.” Ultimately, the collection is concerned with language—as witness and buoy in the white waters of loss, as a tool for violences small and state-crafted, as an asymptote both approaching ideas of “home” and estranged from it, and, beyond it all and still, as a source of wild wonder. 

About the Author

Sahar Muradi is author of the chapbooks [ G A T E S ], A Garden Beyond My Hand, and Ask Hafiz: A Migration Story Told through Poetic Divination. She is coeditor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature and EMERGENC(Y): Writing Afghan Lives beyond the Forever War: An Anthology of Writing from Afghanistan and Its Diaspora, and coauthor of A Ritual in X Movements. She is a recipient of the Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry Award and the Patrons’ Prize for Emerging Writers from Thornwillow Press, as well as a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Sahar is cofounder of the Afghan American Artists & Writers Association and dearly believes in the bottom of the rice pot. 

Praise For…

"Muradi delivers proverbial insights and robust metaphors with mellifluous agility." 
—Publishers Weekly

“Charged with bracingly original sight and sensibility, Octobers is a book that ruptures experiences of exile, ravages of empire, lavish griefs, and unspeakable bindings to reveal in them astonishing new musics. Muradi’s approach is radially expansive—this is a collection weaved out of thick strands of complex feeling and thought, geographic and psychic mappings, rhythmic vitality and kinetic structure. Not hyperbole: each line on every page is coiled, indelible in its impression. And beyond the viscosity of Muradi’s language and the urgency of her seeing, we have the staggering means by which the poems name, commemorate, interrogate, memorialize, sing, and fall silent. How long have I awaited this book? Muradi’s poems are those I feel protective over, so deeply do they shake and remake me. Hers is a voice you follow to its interminable reaches.”
Jenny Xie, author of Eye Level 

Octobers is a richly gripping poem-journey through lives and languages, migrations/transitions, with profound openness to curious complexity. Sahar Muradi, born in Afghanistan, resident of New York City, employs subtly understated images, reeling us in to woven mysteries of time and story. Births, childhoods, cities, histories, quiet discoveries, studding the wide panoply of chaos and possibility—I loved the quietude of these brilliant scenes, their haunted reverberations. It’s as if Muradi is speaking up from a difficult, often silent space for those who are forced to flee, recalibrate, make new homes, somewhere, anywhere, right here: ‘this one morning with its distinct wink’—brilliant. I feel I have never read anything quite like this voice before—it’s rare and so important.”
Naomi Shihab Nye, Donald Hall Prize judge and author of Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems

“Charged with a profound tenderness, Sahar Muradi’s Octobers announces the arrival of a wonderful new poet. These are variegated poems: about migration, about grief and giving birth, about Afghan cities and Floridian weather––but the shadow that arches over all of them, darkening the weather of these landscapes, is the violence of nation states, the repercussions of war. Muradi undoes language, weaves it anew: through ellipses, through snippets of Dari and Arabic, all the while singing of ‘white phosphorus over raqqa,’ of the orange wings of monarch butterflies, and the orange uniforms of Guantánamo. The fierce intelligence of her poems insists on the power of language to bring close again, or at least retrace, what is lost. This is a voice I have been waiting for.” —Aria Aber, author of Hard Damage 

Octobers inhabits a deeply intimate space between countries seeking wholeness in belonging. There is belief here: belief in father, belief in God, belief in the wilderness of motherland, and belief in home. The experiments in dialogue, in artistic form, poem as visual paintings, and the visceral momentum of the zuihitsu create a vocabulary of resistance and praise. There is complexity to the texture of the movement of bodies and its connection to self and the bonds that anchor it, as Sahar Muradi asks in one poem, ‘So much writing is born of longing. So much living.’ Muradi creates an astonishing new collection of poems that invites the reader to journey through the ‘intimate and holy,’ as it lives most fully in a devotional language, turning it into a tender yet mighty revelation.” —Tina Chang, author of Hybrida 

“I’m in awe of this book. And proud. Sharp, keen, elegant, muscular: Octobers engages both the glories and madness of humanity with refined, rigorous, unapologetic wonder. Exile, homeland, occupation, war—which is to say: love—and time. I’ve been a strong admirer of Muradi’s poetry—literally—for decades, just waiting for this moment. In this resplendent debut, we are witnessing the arrival of a formidable new talent. These poems contain words ‘whose feet never touch the ground.’ Muradi yields meticulous prowess—fired and bolting hard—right from the gate.” —Robin Coste Lewis, author of To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness and Voyage of the Sable Venus 

“[A] tender and humane investigation of the linguistic artifacts of two decades of the War on Terror (born in Afghanistan, Muradi lives in New York) characterizes the collection, as does a refusal to synthesize irreconcilably divided identities, languages, worldviews.”
—Poetry Society of America
Product Details
ISBN: 9780822967088
ISBN-10: 0822967081
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication Date: October 10th, 2023
Pages: 72
Language: English
Series: Pitt Poetry Series