We are reading (and loving!) City of Rivers, the first poetry collection from Zubair Ahmed, who was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh before he immigrated to the United States with his parents and brother in 2005. Ahmed graduated from Stanford University with degrees in creative writing and mechanical engineering, and his poetry is both technical and sparse. The collection is one sweeping, forward motion, much like the rivers that appear every few poems, and Ahmed winds them through his personal history. In the poem “Ashulia.” he writes of his father:
He told me he found God
On the corner of his cigarette.
Twenty years later, his body floated
Through all two-hundred-fourteen rivers of Bangladesh.
City of Rivers was the recipient of the 2013 Northern California Book Award in Poetry. It was published as part of McSweeney’s Poetry Series in 2012.