The Palace of Forty Pillars

Our Rating
Reader Rating

Author: Armen Davoudian

Category: Literature & literary studies

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Corsair

ISBN: 9781472158451

RRP: $22.99

Synopsis

0 0 votes
Reader Rating

‘In this formally radical debut, Armen Davoudian shows how rhyme enacts longing for a homeland left behind; how meter sings to a lost beloved; and how a combination of the two can map a self – or idea of the self – relinquished so that a new life, and all the happiness it deserves, can take shape’ Paul Tran

‘Marks the arrival of a notable new voice . . . The Palace of Forty Pillars is a moving book as well as an elegant one; its central preoccupation with the theme of belonging speaks memorably to one of the most urgent questions of our time’ Andrew Motion

Wry, tender, and formally innovative, Armen Davoudian’s debut poetry collection, The Palace of Forty Pillars, tells the story of a self estranged from the world around him as a gay adolescent, an Armenian in Iran, and an immigrant in America. It is a story darkened by the long shadow of global tragedies – the Armenian genocide, war in the Middle East, the specter of homophobia. With masterful attention to rhyme and meter, these poems also carefully witness the most intimate encounters: the awkward distance between mother and son getting ready in the morning, the delicate balance of power between lovers, a tense exchange with the morality police in Iran.

In Isfahan, Iran, the eponymous palace has only twenty pillars – but, reflected in its courtyard pool, they become forty. This is the gamble of Davoudian’s magical, ruminative poems: to recreate, in art’s reflection, a home for the speaker, who is unable to return to it in life.

In this formally radical debut, Armen Davoudian shows how rhyme enacts longing for a homeland left behind; how meter sings to a lost beloved; and how a combination of the two can map a self – or idea of the self – relinquished so that a new life, and all the happiness it deserves, can take shape

I believe that the publication of Armen Davoudian’s debut full-length poetry collection will be an event. Perhaps the most gifted craftsman of his generation . . . a poet equally influenced by James Merrill and classical Persian poetry, Davoudian writes of America from the viewpoint of the immigrant and Iran from the viewpoint of the exile (further complicated by his Armenian roots), an insider/outsider position perfect for the gimlet-eyed observation of the poet . . . Davoudian is a poet of drive and ambition

Home and its opposites; love and loss; youth and age; innocence and knowledge; grief and celebration: Armen Davoudian’s poems are built on a series of binaries. This makes for an unusually well-organised and intellectually satisfying collection . . . and marks the arrival of a notable new voice . . .The Palace of Forty Pillars is a moving book as well as an elegant one; its central preoccupation with the theme of belonging speaks memorably to one of the most urgent questions of our time

Armen Davoudian’s The Palace of Forty Pillars heralds a new but already accomplished voice in American poetry, and indeed of an evolving America. Davoudian, born in Iran and Armenian by heritage, is a young master of the English language who brings to mind the high-culture wit of James Merrill and the affecting reticence of Elizabeth Bishop . . . Our experience of this first book is more than double: we know we’ll return to read it again, and again and again

Reader Reviews

Subscribe
Notify of
Your Rating
0 Reviews
Inline Feedbacks
View all reviews

The Latest List