Kaveh Akbar


Kaveh Akbar’s poems appear in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Paris Review, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. His second full-length volume of poetry, Pilgrim Bell, will be published by Graywolf in August 2021. His debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, is out now with Alice James in the US and Penguin in the UK. He is also the author of the chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, published in 2016 by Sibling Rivalry Press. In 2022, Penguin Classics will publish a new anthology edited by Kaveh: The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse: 100 Poets on the Divine. In 2020 Kaveh was named Poetry Editor of The Nation. The recipient of honors including multiple Pushcart Prizes, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, and the Levis Reading Prize, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson. In 2014, Kaveh founded Divedapper, a home for dialogues with the most vital voices in American poetry. With Sarah Kay and Claire Schwartz, he wrote a weekly column for the Paris Reviewcalled "Poetry RX." Source

Poem to a Conqueror

a groundwind wishes away

the dandelion


and quarters the citrus

like wind

you come panting and aimless

bringing your own lumber

to warp and termite yourself

when you touch my face

you believe it is perfectable

you say

this is perfectable

when you move

you move like a carousel of flames

see: a row of broken chairs

in the pinerot

see: a petal

pressed between needle and skin

if the whole body were an eye

where would the hearing be

when I dream I dream like an ox

broken plow after broken plow

patience is a virtue

and virtue is easy

I only need to fear

the parts of you I can see





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Love & Relationships

Literary Devices:


the replacement of one part of speech for another, often referred to as a “functional shift.”


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”