by Daniel Khalastchi
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
Paper: 978-0-299-34804-5
Library of Congress Classification PS3611.H33S76 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

Daniel Khalastchi boldly strides across a landscape of smoldering fires, unmarked boxes, and pictures of senators in airplane bathrooms. Exhilarating and innovative, The Story of Your Obstinate Survival collapses genre and upends narrative convention with dazzling wordplay and thrilling imagery. Inhabiting a world trapped somewhere between dreams and reality, these poems fuse the political and personal, public and private, pleasing and piquant, to examine both calamities and the dogged persistence required to endure. On display throughout is Khalastchi’s exceptional capacity for detail and specificity, filling up this world to the point of breaking but never beyond, insisting on survival despite it all.    
Crowds around the circus serve as means of an escape, 
a legislative party bus of palliative care. There standing 
by the advent tent are penitential dentures, striking in 
their likeness to entire choking towns. Backed down 
and bound the carnival carnivorous is glowing, a 
midway ways away alit and stilted by the night.
—Excerpt from “Trying to I Can’t Hit Anything Yet the Bodies Pile Up”

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