New KTCO: Ayesha Raees
When I first started reading Ayesha Raees's debut book of poetry, Coining a Wishing Tower, I had a certain feeling of being unmoored. The form of the book (fragments that might be fable or might be prose poetry) and the tone (which varied between the fragments, some strange and Borgesian, others quite concrete) all contributed to that. But the further in I got, the more it began to cohere into an experience that, if I couldn't fully articulate what it was doing or how, was nevertheless potent and resonant. What was clear at that point was that this was a book that I'd need to return to more than once, and which would reward me if I did with new insights. That turned out to be entirely true, and I discovered threads about loss, about grief, about religion and ritual, about belonging and separation, and of a certain optimism in the face of devastation. Needless to say, I was pleased to get to talk with Ayesha for this week's episode.
Here are some handy episode links:
And some purchase links for the book! As always, I recommend picking it up from your local independent bookstore, but if you don't have one of those available, here are some other options:
Some additional resources that you might enjoy in conjunction with today's episode:
- This interview at CutBank between Ayesha and Josh Wagner was an interesting starting point for me in thinking about how I wanted to approach my conversation with her.
- Ayesha's Vimeo page has a number of examples of her hybrid work, combining image, text, and sound for a fascinating artistic experience. I particularly recommend her four-part video "A Manual (or memoir), For Learning (or knowing), About a Tentative (or fleeting), Ticking thought Machine (or being)."