praise for GILT
"To read GILT is to open windows steamed with bright and exacting language, worlds where a “cobra is a garland—no, the cobra / is a man’s knuckles, a girl’s hair clumped / between them…” Shirali’s tough-tender debut embroiders lavish Indian weddings and Diwali festivals with the reckonings of a relationship’s end. The rich wisdom you glean from the powerful pages of GILT will leave you spent and enchanted."
-Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Lucky Fish
"Raena Shirali is a poet who keeps asking what poems can actually do, and these formally inventive lyrics ask for activity, for travel. Her comment on culture, on identity, on justice is her comment on poetry. It is not fixed; and if it is, it shouldn’t be. GILT is a book of danger and sarcasm
-Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament
Of the poem, judge Claudia Rankine says, “'daayan summoning magic'” is full of patience with its own unfolding. The poem sees the spectral as contingencies and offers up the conduction if as a way of opening out the metaphor of burning. A very beautiful and moving elegy."
-Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize
GILT was recently ranked #5 on TRACK//FOUR's list of Ten Most Anticipated Poetry Collections by People of Color in 2017.
reviews of GILT
"Shirali, the daughter of Indian immigrants, has written a collection that dissects experiences against a white Southern background and begs the question: “What does America demand of my brown body?” Her answer is complicated. She is expected to be thin, fair, demure, accepting, and invisible—all while being fetishized and sexually available. The speaker refuses all this, and we join in her refusal; she so easily slips into a narrative of brutal, unabashed nakedness that we are left stunned."
-Chicago Review of Books
"The speaker is concerned with finding her way beneath the weight of mixed messages from her family and from American pop culture & societal norms about body image, “successful” relationships, and how to be a “good” daughter. Amongst these more intimate poems, Shirali includes overtly political poems that tackle violence against women in India and violence begotten from religious & political differences there."
-Sandy Longhorn's Reading Notes