Indebted to the docupoetics tradition, Raena Shirali’s summonings investigates the ongoing practice of witch (“daayan”) hunting in India. Here, poems interrogate the political implications and shortcomings of writing Subaltern personae while acknowledging the author’s Westernized positionality.
Continuing to explore multi-national and intersectional concerns around identity raised in her debut collection, Shirali asks how first- and second-generation immigrants reconcile the self with the lineages that shape it, wondering aloud about those lineages’ relationships to misogyny & violence. These precarious poems explore how antiquated & existing norms surrounding female mysticism in India and America inform each culture’s treatment of women.
summonings is comment on power & patriarchy, on authorial privilege & the shifting role of witness, &, ultimately, on an ethical poetics, grounded in the inevitable failure to embody the Other.
summonings by Raena Shirali
Black Lawrence Press, October 2022