by Rajiv Mohabir
In Cutlish, a title referencing the rural recasting of the cutlass or machete, Rajiv Mohabir creates a form migrated from Caribbean chutney music in order to verse the precarity of a queer Indo-Caribbean speaker in the newest context of the United States. By joining the disparate threads of his fading, often derided, multilingual Guyanese Creole and Guyanese Bhojpuri linguistic inheritances, Mohabir mingles the ghosts that haunt from the cane fields his ancestors worked with the canonical colonial education of his elders, creating a new syncretic American poetry — pushing through the “post” of postcolonial, the “poet” in the poetic.
Paperback | 116 pages | Four Way Books | 2021
Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Taxidermist’s Cut, The Cowherd’s Son, and Cutlish, which was awarded the Eric Hoffer Medal Provocateur, placed second in the 2022 Guyana Prize for Literature, was longlisted for the 2022 PEN/Voelcker Prize, and was a finalist for both the New England Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His memoir, Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir won the Forward Indies Award for LGBTQ+ Nonfiction and was a finalist for the 2022 PEN/America Open Book Award, 2021 Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction, and 2021 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography. As a translator, his version of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara, won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2020. In 2022, he was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Colorado Boulder.
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