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New Dominion Bookshop to present a conversation with poet Kaveh Akbar

Crystal Graham
Headshot of author and poet Kaveh Akbar
Kaveh Akbar, photo by Beowulf Sheehan

New Dominion Bookshop will host a book reading and signing with author Kaveh Akbar tonight at 7 p.m.

An acclaimed poet, Akbar (Pilgrim Bell and Calling a Wolf a Wolf) will be reading from his debut novel, Martyr!

A conversation with author Henry Hoke will follow.

This in-person event is free to attend and open to the public.

Martyr! Is about a young man named Cyrus Shams who is grappling with an inheritance of violence and loss: his mother’s plane was shot down over the skies of the Persian Gulf in a senseless accident; and his father’s life in America was circumscribed by his work killing chickens at a factory farm in the Midwest.

Cyrus is a drunk, an addict and a poet, whose obsession with martyrs leads him to examine the mysteries of his past toward an uncle who rode through Iranian battlefields dressed as the Angel of Death to inspire and comfort the dying, and toward his mother, through a painting discovered in a Brooklyn art gallery that suggests she may not have been who or what she seemed.

Akbar’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Best American Poetry and elsewhere.

He is the author of two poetry collections in addition to a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic.

He is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse: 110 Poets on the Divine.

Hoke is the author of five books, most recently the novel Open Throat (MCD/FSG) and the memoir Sticker (Bloomsbury). He co-created the performance series Enter>text in Los Angeles and edits humor at The Offing.

Encore event on Saturday

New Dominion Bookshop will host an in-person reading with Graywolf poets Leah Naomi Green (The More Extravagant Feast) and Kaveh Akbar on Saturday at 10 a.m. in celebration of Graywolf Press’s 50th anniversary.

Leah Naomi Green and Kaveh Akbar will be reading from their essays included in Raised by Wolves: Fifty Poets on Fifty Poems, A Graywolf Anthology.

New Dominion Bookshop is located at 404 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

For more information, visit www.ndbookshop.com

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.