Coining a Wishing Tower
Author: Ayesha Raees
Publisher: Platypus Press (2022)
Coining a Wishing Tower—selected by Kaveh Akbar as winner of the 2020 Broken River Prize—is both story and song, a lyrical narrative that gathers and releases. There are moments of childlike wonder and of adult meditation—oftentimes one and the same. In fragments both real and unreal, this is a book of rituals, of history, of surrender.
Ayesha Raees’s Coining a Wishing Tower is everything I hope to find when I read a book of poetry—fearless reckoning with unprecedented experience spoken in a singular, deeply and importantly strange lyric voice. My luck, to get to help introduce it to you. Your luck, to get to read it for the first time.
Singular in its voice and imagination, Coining a Wishing Tower is unyielding in its search for truth, for a spiritual tether. Its allegories remind us of what’s holy in the everyday.
A beautiful epic, told through prose poems that surprise with precise and wondrous language…a bright and wild new voice.
–Cathy Linh Che
With Coining a Wishing Tower, Ayesha Raees’ intercultural, interreligious meditation on family life, childhood, memory, and death, comes a bold imagination populated with a cat and a moon both in love with a Godfish, a House Mouse who performs rituals, where death is one such ritual, and a child tells their father that ‘The bare minimum to life…is to just live.’
–Diana Khoi Nguyen
An exciting debut collection that traverses multiple dimensions and landscapes, both metaphorical and physical. By skillfully playing with the theme of real or not-real, Raees invites the reader to meditate on what constitutes real in the first place.
This feels like a poem, a fable, perhaps a ritual. Parts feel Borgesian, others feel concrete and contemporary. Fascinating.