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Anis Shivani
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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

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

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2015 | 11:31 AM

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 | 12:52 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?

(1) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 8:48 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 | 10:48 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

(1) Comments | Posted June 12, 2015 | 10:28 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 | 11:53 AM

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 | 8:36 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 | 10:00 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 | 2:00 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 | 10:54 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 | 9:18 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?

2013-11-15-FranzWrightF.jpg

1. Franz Wright, F: Poems (Knopf)

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

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Republican Extremists Know Exactly What They're Doing

(5) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 5:40 PM

They're not crazy or irrational; there's method to their madness, and progressives would do well not to underestimate the rationality of their extremism if we wish to come out winners. To think that there isn't a strategy behind their madcap mission to shut down government and possibly default on the...

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Emerging Poet Interview: Louise Mathias, Author of "The Traps"

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 5:25 PM


Anis: How long did it take you to write The Traps, and what were the major stages in its growth and progression?

Louise: Almost a decade. I don't know that there were necessarily major stages in its growth and progression, just a lot of ridiculous thrashing...

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The Truth About Sex and Poetry: Interview With Alex Dimitrov, Author of Begging For It

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2013 | 11:20 AM

In his debut collection Begging for It (Four Way Books, March 12), Alex Dimitrov gives expression to a voice that is strong, insistent, sensual, passionate, and wounded. I spoke to Alex about sex, panic, and degradation with regard to specific poems in the collection, but first here's a...

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National Poetry Month Emerging Poet Spotlight: Interview with Amanda J. Bradley, Author of Oz at Night

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 5:14 PM

Amanda J. Bradley has recently published her second poetry book, Oz at Night. This follows her debut collection, Hints and Allegations. I was really impressed with both books, finding some rare qualities in her poetry, and interviewed Amanda about her sources, inspirations, and aesthetic choices. You...

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National Poetry Month Emerging Poet Spotlight: Interview with Lynn Xu, Author of Debts and Lessons

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 4:57 PM

Lynn Xu's debut book of poetry, Debts & Lessons, has just appeared (April 1) from the always terrific Omnidawn Publishing. Together with Robyn Schiff, Nick Twemlow, and Joshua Edwards, Lynn edits Canarium Books. My interview with Lynn follows, but first, here's one of my favorite poems...

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Why Amour Deserved to Win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 10:34 AM

Amour. Drama. Starring Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Isabelle Huppert. Written and directed by Michael Haneke. Photography by Darius Khondji. In French with English subtitles. 2012, 127 minutes.

Michael Haneke's new film, winner of the Palme d'Or and winner of the Oscar for best foreign language film, is about the...

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Sylvia Plath 50 Years Later: What Modern Feminism Can Learn From Ariel

(3) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 2:59 PM

Sylvia Plath, who died 50 years ago this week, founded a style of feminist poetry that has almost completely receded. Arriving as she did at the head of the women's rights movement, Plath's poetry partly set the stage for the feverish experiments in consciousness that followed soon; it was comparable...

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George W. Bush, Amateur Painter: A Poetic Response

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 11:26 AM

Thanks to an email hacker, we now know about George W. Bush's painting hobby. In this, as in so many other ways, he has tried to imitate his ultimate mentor's every little trait -- although a little belatedly, in this instance, since the failed painting career is supposed...

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Notes on Cormac McCarthy's The Road

(6) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 10:02 AM

1. The true subject of the twenty-first-century novel is, or ought to be, death. The illusion of life itself is how the novel began, and after centuries of dalliance with subsidiary subjects, how to lend a pretty gloss to life, thankfully the novel is returning to its essence. Coetzee did...

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