The Humble Explorers of Hemlock – Ahmad Shamlu
First of all I need to start with Persian poetry. for me, Poetry started with Shamlu, and he was my window into free verse and world poetry. Shamlu’s “Humble Explorers of Hemlock” (کاشفان فروتن شوکران) is a sublime account of humanity taken to its limits at the face of tyranny.
Ardour – Nicole Brossard
Can’t talk about poetry without mentioning Canada! Nicole Brossard has had an immaculate writing career, but I feel none of her work inspires and informs my own poetry more than Ardour’s potent, yet succinct poems. the sheer force of the ideology that is distilled into such minimalist poetry is truly inspiring.
The Book Of Images – Rainer Maria Rilke
Rilke doesn’t have a category, he’s a category in itself. Rilke carried me through some really rough times. for an entire summer I’d purify myself with a poem or two from this book before leaving the house.
The Machete Tourist – John Stintzi
Next up is chapbooks and I’ve always believed that John Stintzi’s chapbook is just incredible. Its emotionally mature, verbally imaginative and infinitely endearing.
Vulgar Mechanics – K.B. Thors
And finally: Something new. I’ve been a fan of K.B. Thors for a while, but her new collection set my soul on fire for the first time in what feels like years. Her book is stylish, ideologically potent and lyrically excellent. a 2019 must-read.
Khashayar Mohammadi is an Iranian-born, Toronto-based writer/translator. He is the host of knife | fork | book’s monthly Chapbook club and the author of the chapbooks “Moe’s Skin” with ZED PRESS and “Dear Kestrel” with knife | fork | book. he is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript.