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“Ari Banias is one of the best living poets, and this book in your hands is our proof. Anybody is the courage of a poet who trusts the strength of poetry to make room in our world for everybody.” —CAConrad
In Anybody, Ari Banias takes up questions of recognition and belonging: how boundaries are drawn and managed, the ways he and she, us and them, here and elsewhere are kept separate, and at what cost identities and selves are forged. Moving through iconic and imagined landscapes, Anybody confronts the strangeness of being alive and of being a restlessly gendered, queer, emotive body. Wherever the poet turns—the cruising spaces of Fire Island, a city lake, a Greek island, a bodega-turned-coffee-shop—he finds the charge of boundedness and signification, the implications of what it means to be a this instead of a that. Witty, tender, and original, these poems pierce the constructs that define our lives.
About the Author
Ari Banias has held fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. He teaches writing and works with small press books in Berkeley, California.
Banias poses questions of identity and belonging in his striking debut. . . In lines alternately straight-talking and philosophical, Banias asks what it means to be ‘a white dude’ in our country, to be educated and privileged but still ‘a fake man.’
I’m so impressed by the range and grace of Ari Banias’ Anybody. It’s discursive, straight-talking, and thinky, then ghostlike, elliptical, and mischievous. It takes its time, then rushes; it’s quiet, then bold; it’s steeped in sociality, then ringing with solitude. I happily recognize its arrival, even if I know (as does Banias, quoting Berlant) that recognition may be but the misrecognition we can bear.
— Maggie Nelson
Born late in the twentieth century, tutored under the twin suns of Frank O’Hara and Guillaume Apollinaire, vexed by ‘this set of meanings on my body,’ Ari Banias is a poet for this hour—bewildered, hopeful, and cracklingly alive, a citizen of the possible. How many utopias? (keep imagining them).
— Mark Doty
Here is Anybody with its syntax of rupture and suture, its restless questions and metaphysical balloons. What a thrilling, original, generous, openhearted book. A book we have waited for, whoever we are.
— Donna Masini
Ari Banias has written one of the finest first books (OK, any book!) that I’ve ever read… These poems stake a claim on the future: they give us a poet who understands to the bone how syntax and line and music embody emotion, and how the integrity of the spirit is the maker’s integrity. — Tom Sleigh