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Anis Shivani
Anis Shivani is a fiction writer, poet, and critic in Houston, Texas.

His debut novel, Karachi Raj, will be published in 2013. His other books are My Tranquil War and Other Poems (NYQ Books, 2012), The Fifth Lash and Other Stories (C&R Press, Nov. 2012), Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies (2011), and Anatolia and Other Stories (2009), longlisted for the Frank O'Connor award.

He is currently at work on a new book of criticism, and a new novel called Abruzzi, 1936.

Anis is the winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, and a member of the National Book Critics Circle, with reviews appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman, Boston Globe, Kansas City Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, San Antonio Express-News, Charlotte Observer, St. Petersburg Times, Texas Observer, Brooklyn Rail, and others.

His fiction, poetry, and criticism appear regularly in leading literary journals such as the Boston Review, Georgia Review, Southwest Review, Harvard Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Epoch, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Subtropics, Threepenny Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Iowa Review, Antioch Review, Colorado Review, Pleiades, Boulevard, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Denver Quarterly, Verse, Poetry Northwest, Washington Square, London Magazine, Stand, Times Literary Supplement, Meanjin, Fiddlehead, Antigonish Review, Cambridge Quarterly, Contemporary Review (Oxford), and many others.

Entries by Anis Shivani

Video Reading Series Thanksgiving Edition: Five Emerging Houston Poets You Should Know About

(1) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 5:27 PM

In the time that I have lived here, since the late 1990s, Houston has become quite the poetry town. There is so much poetry of so much diversity from so many different kinds of poets coming out pretty much every day that one can hardly keep up.

This may...

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Video Reading Series: October 2015 Edition

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 5:28 PM

In this edition of the video reading series, some of the best poets today reading their most innovative work, accompanied by some thoughts about why their wrote their new poetry books and what their poetic process is. Enjoy!

1. Claudia Keelan reads from Truth of My Songs: Poems of the...

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University Press Spotlight Fall 2015: University of Colorado Press

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 1:53 PM

Here are some Fall 2015 highlights from the University Press of Colorado (which also includes the Utah State University Press):

1. Ways to the West: How Getting Out of Our Cars is Reclaiming America's Frontier, by Tim Sullivan


In Ways to the West,...
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New Books of Note: September 14, 2015 Edition

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 6:04 PM

1. James Merrill: Life and Art, by Langdon Hammer (Knopf)


The first biography of Merrill, one of my favorite poets, whose cultural milieu, as described here, I wish to understand better: "After college at Amherst and a period of adventure in...

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Poem for Obama

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 10:15 AM

As the Obama years draw to a close, and we elect a new "commander-in-chief," here is a poem, written early in the Obama years, reflecting on the unique position the U.S. president, whoever he is, finds himself in. It is part of a poem called "Crisis," from a new manuscript,...

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New Books of Note: September 4, 2015 Edition

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 6:21 PM

1. Wrack Lariat, by Heller Levinson (Black Widow Press).


From the preeminent publisher of classical and contemporary surrealist writing comes a new collection by one of the most daring poets operating today. Congratulations are in order for avant-garde publishers...

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Fascist Trump, Neoliberal Hillary, and Progressive Bernie: Three Contrasting Performance Styles

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 6:47 PM

I was curious about the big show of humanity Donald Trump assembled in the old Dixie stronghold of Mobile, Alabama, supported by nativist Senator Jeff Sessions, so I watched the entire Trump Alabama rally, and some others of his too. Trump was surprisingly entertaining, for the limited range of ideas...

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The Launching of Monsoon Art Space in Houston: Alternative Art Spaces as the Salons of the Future

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 3:26 PM

It seems that there is a plethora of avenues these days for writers and artists to get their work out in the public: bookstores and art galleries, museums and exhibition spaces, reading series and conferences. But something seems to be missing when it comes to the existence and proliferation of...

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The Festival That Was Matwaala: South Asian Poets Celebrating Poetry and Love

(5) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 1:45 PM

Something extraordinary, even magical, happened in Austin, Texas over the weekend of Aug. 1-2. South Asian poets from different nations and around the country--and many local ones too--came at the invitation of Usha Akella--an indefatigable presence on the Austin poetry scene--to the inaugural South Asian Poets in the...

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What Is the Appeal of Detective Fiction? Dashiell Hammett's "The Continental Op" as Exemplar

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2015 | 12:31 PM

The first-person narrator is the imposer of order in a world of chaos--or rather, deceit, lies, hypocrisy, where nothing is as it seems. And yet reading a classic of noir fiction like Dashiell Hammett's The Continental Op is a revelation. For a "literary fiction" writer, the surprise is...

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Where Stands Postmodern American Poetry: Is Paul Hoover's Anthology the Final Word?

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 1:52 PM

Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology
Paul Hoover, editor.

There is a rich context for this update of the now-standard anthology of postmodern American poetry, the one Paul Hoover first compiled in 1994, and which now, at nearly 1,000 pages, seeks to be the definitive reference for...

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Part III: Is American Fiction a Prop for Neoliberal Ideology?

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 9:48 AM

Read Part I here, and Part II here.

If we take apart the motivations and rationales and biographies of some of the leading exponents of plastic realism, we find that their official personas match the ideal neoliberal subject being constituted in their works.

Jonathan Franzen's...

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Part II: The New Genre of Plastic Realism in American Fiction

(4) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 11:48 AM

Continued from Part I: Read It Here

Writers are only addressing each other, satisfying conglomerate publishing's desire to offer a hegemonic product that seamlessly fits into the wider political economy, rather than any actual audience. Because most literary writers no longer have to rely on the marketplace for...

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We Are All Neoliberals Now: The New Genre of Plastic Realism in American Fiction

(2) Comments | Posted June 12, 2015 | 11:28 AM

That's when he [Scotty] began singing the songs he'd been writing for years underground, songs no one had ever heard, or anything like them--"Eyes in My Head," "X's and O's," "Who's Watching Hardest"--ballads of paranoia and disconnection ripped from the chest of a man you knew just by looking had...

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The First-Ever Houston Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Zepeda Talks About Poetry in a City of Great Diversity

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 12:53 PM

On April 9, 2013, Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker announced Gwendolyn Zepeda as the first-ever Houston poet laureate. Zepeda is now well into her two-year term, and I thought it would be a good time to ask her about her experiences so far.

Zepeda was born in Houston, Texas...

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Predictions for the Year 2514: Dystopia That Feels Like Utopia

(6) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 9:36 PM

Humanists typically look toward the future with extreme pessimism, assuming conditions of technological oppressiveness: Surveillance is rampant, the human being has been shorn of dignity, the state is overpowering, and individuality is a lost cause before the powerful onslaught of the collective. Zamyatin and Orwell are prime examples of this...

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Ferguson: An Elegy

(0) Comments | Posted August 22, 2014 | 11:00 AM

an ancient military siege-implement
a form of spur or gaff for a fighting-cock

he stole a cigar from a convenience store
the way the wind sits, it never rains

where the mud is poured upon women
health and longevity the setter of sacks

for the prejudice of...

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Video Reading Series June 2014: Eight Emerging Poets and Fiction Writers Read From Their New Work

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 3:00 PM

These eight poets and fiction writers have all been making waves lately; they represent some of the best in indie publishing, the cutting-edge of today's literary world. I hope you enjoy listening to their readings, and will share your comments about their work!

Poet Wendy Chin-Tanner

I started writing Turn...

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Should Writing Try to Humanize Particular Groups of People?

(1) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 11:54 AM

"One can very well imagine a pure cruelty, without bodily laceration. And philosophically speaking what indeed is cruelty? From the point of view of the mind, cruelty signifies rigor, implacable intention and decision, irreversible and absolute determination." -- Antonin Artaud, First Letter on Cruelty, Sept. 13, 1932, from The Theater...

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The 3 Best Books of 2013

(1) Comments | Posted November 15, 2013 | 10:18 AM

What was the best book published in 2013 in each of the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with the best claim to become a book for the ages?


1. Franz Wright, F: Poems (Knopf)

F is the culmination of Franz Wright's life...

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