Author: Daniel Khalastchi
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press (2021)
Daniel Khalastchi's third collection provides an uncompromising exploration into the political and societal disturbances facing America today. Electioneering, lack of affordable health care, the increase in mass shootings, and the continued fight for equal rights are juxtaposed against an unlikely sense of hope and optimism. Lurking behind each page is the ever-present issue of immigration, with specific focus on the escape of the author's father from Iraq and the pressures linked to living as an Arab Jew in the middle of the United States.
Through unnerving gallows humor and radical honesty, these poems redefine the American experience by asking the reader to consider what it means to live in the shadow of a perceived sense of freedom and to have faith when believing feels hopeless. Khalastchi's perspective as an Iraqi Jewish American brings sharp focus to the holistic uncertainties of religion, politics, assimilation, illness, love, and loss—with absurd, visceral, and wry acclaim.
“When the world is turned upside down, when vaccines are 5G and democracy is fascism and insurrection is freedom of speech, satire is often the most acute mirror to interpret an age. Vivid, bleak, and startling, American Parables is an allegorical masterpiece of mordant irony I plan to carry with me in this uncertain post-JAN6 era.”
Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by Carmen Giménez Smith