Arthur Kayzakian

Arthur Kayzakian’s Debut Poetry Collection The Book of Redacted Paintings Published

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Poet Arthur Kayzakian’s debut collection, The Book of Redacted Paintings, has been published by Black Lawrence. The book, which is a winner of the 2021 Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series award and a finalist for the 2021 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, intertwines poetry, prose, and visual art, takes place in the present day yet alludes to the Iranian Revolution.

In The Book of Redacted Paintings, the narrative arc follows a boy in search of his father’s painting, but it is unclear whether the painting exists or not. The book, a poetry collection, is also populated by a series of paintings. Some are real, incomplete, and/or missing, while most are redacted from reality. The withdrawn paintings concept is the emotional arc of the book, a combination of wishing one could paint the pieces he/she/they envision and the feeling of something torn out of a person due to a traumatic upbringing. A sort of erasure ekphrasis, to foresee artwork that was never painted.

Formally various, narratively propulsive, and relentlessly earnest in its psychospiritual excavations, Arthur Kayzakian’s The Book of Redacted Paintings is a sincere achievement. That it represents the author’s first full-length collection makes it even more remarkable. In one poem, the sound of gunfire “splits the wind in half.” In another, “It rains, as if heaven crashes, it rains.” Kayzakian’s are poems of real stakes and scale, of the minute and the hour and the lifetime. His subjects — art, family, masculinity, empire — remain as timely as ever, but it’s the uncanny juxtapositions of lyric and visual art that make The Book of Redacted Paintings an unforgettable text. — Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf and Pilgrim Bell

Arthur Kayzakian is the recipient of the 2022 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also the winner of the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition for, My Burning City. He serves as the Poetry Chair for the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA). His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from several publications including Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, Portland Review, Chicago Review, Nat. Brut, The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Witness Magazine, and Prairie Schooner.

On June 17, Kayzakian will be participating in Literary Lights, a monthly reading series run by the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA), the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center.

To purchase The Book of Redacted Paintings, visit Black Lawrence’s website:  https://blacklawrencepress.com/books/the-book-of-redacted-paintings/

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