Poet of the Month: Moez Surani
March 2015


[image Moez Surani]Moez Surani’s writing has been published internationally, including in Harper’s Magazine, The Awl, Best Canadian Poetry 2013 and Best Canadian Poetry 2014. When his first collection of poetry, Reticent Bodies, was published, one critic assessed the book’s impact: "Reticent Bodies is that rare book that has the power to be a lynchpin, a hinge in the history of Canadian poetry.” In 2012, Surani published a second collection, Floating Life, which was described as suffused with “stunning, simple images.” Recently, he has been working on collaborations and on interdisciplinary art and performance art pieces.

Statement of Poetics

I began writing because I was attracted to the charisma of language. I felt language had a special charisma – especially when something I was reading illuminated my life – or the reverse: when something I was going through lit up a text. I like that rapport between language and experience.

The first book, Reticent Bodies, which is where this first poem is from, was written while I was a student and I think that book has the tensions and desires of student life. The second book, Floating Life, when I was travelling and working abroad, the poetry changes: I started to see how contingent things were – this contingency made events and even relationships seem more fragile and arbitrary – so my language had to change to capture this precarity.

The last poem,    عملية Operación  Opération Operation Oперация, is my most recent. It comes back around to where I began from. “Realpolitic” is about Operation Enduring Freedom and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “Realpolitic” isolates a cost that isn’t considered when politicians (and in that case, major global newspapers) advocate war. Where “Realpolitic” focuses on the injustice of a single conflict, “Operations” is about the rhetoric of international aggression. It lists the names of military operations conducted by UN-member countries since the founding of the UN. I think of it as an ongoing, 69-year-old poem that 193 countries have been inadvertently collaborating on. It’s an odd poem because it’s a collection of language at its most maximally debased. The photo of it is from a scrolling projection of the poem onto Palazzolo Acreide's City Hall building, in Sicily, which was heavily bombed in July, 1943, killing six within it.


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