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Anis Shivani
Anis Shivani is the author of several critically acclaimed books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including Anatolia and Other Stories (2009), The Fifth Lash and Other Stories (2012), My Tranquil War and Other Poems (2012), Karachi Raj: A Novel (2015), Whatever Speaks on Behalf of Hashish: Poems (2015), and Soraya: Sonnets (2016). Both Anatolia and Other Stories and The Fifth Lash and Other Stories were longlisted for the Frank O’Connor international short story award. Books forthcoming in 2016 include Both Sides of the Divide: Observing the Sublime and the Mundane in Contemporary Writing, and the novel A History of the Cat in Nine Chapters or Less. Books in progress include the novels Abruzzi, 1936 and An Idiot’s Guide to America, a book of criticism called Plastic Realism: Neoliberalism in Recent American Fiction, and a new poetry book called Empire. Anis’s work appears recently in the Yale Review, Black Warrior Review, Western Humanities Review, Georgia Review, Boston Review, Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Antioch Review, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, Fence, Epoch, Boulevard, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, Verse, Volt, Colorado Review, Quarterly West, New Letters, Subtropics, Times Literary Supplement, London Magazine, Meanjin, Fiddlehead, and other journals. His criticism appears widely in newspapers and magazines such as Salon, Daily Beast, In These Times, Texas Observer, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Austin American-Statesman, Kansas City Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, St. Petersburg Times, Charlotte Observer, and other outlets. Anis is the winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, graduated from Harvard College, and lives in Houston, Texas.

Entries by Anis Shivani

Hillary Clinton Does Not Represent Values that Help Women

(114) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 5:33 PM

"I strongly argued that we had to change the [welfare] system...I didn't think it was fair that one single mother improvised to find child care and got up early every day to get to work while another stayed home and relied on welfare...The third bill passed by Congress cut off...

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Interview with Anis Shivani on Experimental Poetry, His New Books, and How to Make it as a Literary Writer

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2016 | 1:55 PM

Austin poet and photographer Cindy Huyser, author of Burning Number Five: Power Plant Poems, talked to Anis Shivani, Houston poet and fiction writer, about his new book Soraya: Sonnets, and other things writing-related. Huyser will host Shivani for a reading and discussion at Austin's...

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Hillarybots, You Blew It! Thanks for Another Decade of War, Misery, and Scandal

(22) Comments | Posted April 27, 2016 | 4:11 PM

"Hillary looks so beautiful after a victory, radiant, as if she's just had a night of passionate sex with a stranger. She feeds on victory as cops do on doughnuts." -- Facebook post by poet Nada Gordon, New York City.

New York Hillarybots are the same as Hillarybots everywhere....

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Poetry Turns Outsiderness into an Art Form: Why I Wrote Soraya, Sonnets

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2016 | 4:22 PM

My book of 100 experimental sonnets, Soraya, which will be released on June 7, 2016 by Black Widow Press (publishers of contemporary poets like Clayton Eshleman, Jerome Rothenberg, and Robert Kelly, and of the classic surrealist texts), was a breakthrough in my poetic journey. In my...

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National Poetry Month Special: Interview With Robin Davidson, Poet Laureate of Houston

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 12:01 AM

Robin Davidson is Houston's current poet laureate. I was pleased to have a conversation with her about what her new position entails, and what she plans to do to promote the art of poetry in one of the country's largest and most diverse cities.

Shivani: You were a finalist for...

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Interview With Robert Stapleton, Editor of Booth: A Journal

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2016 | 6:15 PM

I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Californian Robert Stapleton at a literary conference in Houston recently, and was struck by both the content and appearance of Booth: A Journal at the well-attended literary journal fair. My entire writing life has revolved around publication...

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Houston, We Have a Conference!

(13) Comments | Posted March 5, 2016 | 8:47 AM

At one of the panels at the inaugural Writefest conference (moderated by historical fiction author Karleen Koen, and including the director of Writespace, Elizabeth White-Olsen, Amir Safi, the organizer of the weekly Write About Now slam poetry event, Becka Oliver, director of...

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

(1) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 4:27 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 | 4:28 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 | 12:53 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 | 5:04 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 | 9:15 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 | 5:21 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 | 5:47 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 | 2:26 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 | 12:45 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 | 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?

(0) 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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