Search for:
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing: A Book Launch with Charif Shanahan

Mar 7, 2017 | 7:00 pm

Please join us for the New York City Book Launch of Charif Shanahan’s debut collection Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing, winner of the 2015 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Introduced by Crab Orchard Series in Poetry editor Jon Tribble, Shanahan will read alongside Pulitzer-Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa and National Book Award-winner Robin Coste Lewis. Book-signing and wine reception to follow the event.

Please RSVP to by Monday, February 27.


“Charif Shanahan’s Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing is a heroic first collection where an alert dialogue beckons us, and we risk entering. Here in these pages the politics of color is highly personal; in a time of bleaching creams and psychological erasures, where there’s an attempt to diminish the African, this poet confronts himself and family head-on, and in doing so, through wit and an astute sense of history, his poetry dares to affect the reader. These poems cross borders in the blood and through an imagination that challenges us. Each trope is made of feeling. We need Shanahan’s voice in this time of reckoning with ourselves as a complex nation, where each of us may understand implicitly when a speaker asks, ‘What pattern of occasion will free him?’”

—Yusef Komunyakaa, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of Water Clocks

“Charif Shanahan’s debut collection, Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing, is an intricate meditation on the complexities of identity, thedifficulties of relationships—with parents, with lovers—and the search for selfhood, ‘who we are to ourselves.’ These are resonant poems, both searching and tender. The poet writes: ‘I’ll sit in silence, / drinking hot tea to scald the place / in my body where the pain roots.’ From that pain what remains is not merely the hurt, but the light that emanates from the wound.”

—Natasha Trethewey, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Native Guard

“From Marrakesh to London to Zürich to our bedrooms and kitchens enters this song of grief and clarity of perspective that is sobering. Lyrical and unforgiving, Shanahan’s voice sees our bodies for what they are, in our streets, in our politics, in our beds, in our racist and ruthless empire where even the sky can be ‘ill-fitting, unhinging, barely awake.’ With Shanahan as our guide, we are given poems that speak straight at us, without patronizing; thepain gives us claritas of being this much alive. I believe Shanahan is a rare kind of poet because his voice is unrelenting and calm at once; he is both vividly empathetic and fiercely honest. The poems in this powerful book dare to see themselves (and us) clearly in this night.”

—Ilya Kaminsky, Whiting Award–winning author of Dancing in Odessa

Charif Shanahan is the author of Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing (SIU Press, 2017), winner of the 2015 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. His poems and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including Baffler, Boston Review, Callaloo, Literary Hub, New Republic, Poetry International, Prairie Schooner, and A Public Space. A Puschart Prize nominee, he is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Cave Canem Foundation, the Frost Place, the Fulbright Program/IIE, and Millay Colony for the Arts. He holds degrees in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and Dartmouth College and an MFA from New York University. He has taught creative writing, literature and language at Dartmouth College, the Collegio di Milano (Italy), International House (Europe, North America), New York University, and Stanford University, where he is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry.

Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing
Admission Free and Open to the Public Sponsored By Poets House Literary Partners Program


Mar 7, 2017
7:00 pm
Event Category: