High Desert is a psychedelic journal of end-times and an ode to the American Southwest. Exploring such key events as the First Red Scare, the Tulsa Race Massacre and the West Coast’s wildfire epidemic, Naffis-Sahely’s reflections on class, race, and nationalism chart the region’s hidden histories from the Spanish Colonial Era to the recent pandemic. The poems in High Desert also revel in their rootlessness, as the author shifts his gaze outside of the US, travelling from Venice and Florence to Chittagong and St Petersburg, tackling our turbulent times and the depths of its problems in searing, extraordinary poems of witness and vision.
High Desert is André Naffis-Sahely’s second collection, following his debut The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin Books, 2017), a gathering of portraits of promised lands and those who go in search of them: travellers, labourers, dreamers; the hopeful and the dispossessed. It includes poems from his recent pamphlet The Other Side of Nowhere (Rough Trade Books, 2019). All his collections present poetry as reportage, as much an act of memory as of sinuous, clear-eyed vision.André Naffis-Sahely is a poet, editor and translator, and editor of Poetry London. He is a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the Manchester Writing School in the UK, and a Lecturer at University of California, Davis, in the US.
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