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all children. by Shabnam Piryaei
  • all children. by Shabnam Piryaei

    • Bibliographic Information

      ISBN: 978-1-939728-63-0, 60pp., paperback

      Publication Date: May 15, 2024

      Author: Shabnam Piryaei

      Location: Doha, Qatar & Richmond, VA

      Distribution: Distributed by Diode Editions


    • About the Collection

      all children. is for the child in every reader.


      May it open a portal to places that feel distant, obscured, or even devastating—to offer a light that speaks directly to the infinite and perfect light in each of us.


      all children. is inspired by two kids journals: Highlights Magazine, the author’s daily refuge as a young, sibling-less immigrant child in the U.S.; and All Children Magazine, a Farsi and English kids journal the author published with her father out of their house when she was 12.


    • Letters from Readers

      This is your task: infiltrate every pediatrician’s office & sneak copies of all children. into the stacks of old magazines, to be uncovered like a holy relic of light by all the weird kids, by the misunderstood kids, the hurt kids, by children with too much inside them, by those afraid to say what must be said, by children who are also adults & trapped in a culture of violence & trauma, children who’ve hidden inside themselves for lifetimes, which is to say, by all children, as we are all children. In this swirling book of beautiful & terrifying & hilarious & terrifying writing, Shabnam Piryaei uses the light-hearted rhetoric of children’s magazines to reach to the reader, to hold a light up in the darkness each reader holds inside. This is a book unlike any other. It is here to help you.


      — Mathias Svalina


      I remember as a kid reading Highlights and loving it—the stories, activities, comics, what’s wrong with this picture? puzzles—but also feeling ill at ease, like it, with all the materials of my youth, was hiding something. Now, reading Shabnam Piryaei’s all children. (←with its definitive, sonorous period), I can see that what it was hiding was: consciousness. Piryaei’s work is like a children’s magazine rewritten in the language of poetry, revealing childhood—what it is made of, what it is re/making—as far more precarious, unpredictable and spellbinding.


      — Brandon Shimoda


      So alive—this radical book of visions and portals and light, each phrase a vial of energy, capacious and exquisitely honed, like: “kindred I love / you. who is your light / for.” For me all children. is a book of spirits, a mystic’s gorgeous trace, an experimental children’s magazine for adults (“Family / I am speaking to the child / in you.”). Here Shabnam Piryaei so fiercely orients us toward life and one another that my eye, in the midst of catastrophe, is by hers touched: “Nape of morning. / Miracle / worlding miracle.”


      — Aracelis Girmay


      Shabnam Piryaei’s all children. takes the form of a children’s magazine, a fascinating formal conceit carried out expertly. A reader encounters all the cartoons and games and recipes and cryptograms and riddles one might expect in such an affair. But Piryaei utterly stranges it, ironizes the form and the book’s title itself, demonstrating how not all children are equally able to enjoy the reverie of childhood, of puzzles in a kid’s book. Piryaei writes: “Say something ordinary. Repeat it until it no longer sounds ordinary.” The effect is haunting, incisive, wildly uncanny. This is a book I won’t soon forget, and a writer I’ll be watching closely.


      — Kaveh Akbar


      Shabnam Piryaei’s stunning collection all children., which imitates the form of a children’s magazine, is dotted with both hand-drawn and computer-generated illustrations—form revealing imagery rife with motifs of animals, children’s games, and even violence. “To love is to create / all from a tale of nothing,” and yet the poet muses that the life of a child (both literal and figurative) is often burdened with the need to “navigate the tenacity of the dark.” Even so, Piryaei’s pen deftly reveals and hides—both giving and taking—the ways in which the child in all of us is or is not perceived and given love. There are clever uses of erasure throughout the work that ultimately change the landscape of a poem (its transformation in itself a form of revelation). The poet speaks of infinite tragedies, large and small: current events such as the COVID pandemic, during which the quarantine prevented much of domestic child abuse from being detected, are intertwined with tiny tragedies disguised as fairytale prose. But “to summon the sheer scope of life” evokes much more than such tragedy. all children. speaks, indeed, to all children—our current selves never truly separate from our childhood identities. Piryaei’s language is masterful—at once exacting and beautiful—infinitely pleasurable to puzzle out. Bravo.


      — Ina Cariño


    • About the Author

      Described by the San Francisco Book Review as “a force to be reckoned with in literary circles,” Shabnam Piryaei is an award-winning poet, playwright, media artist, and filmmaker. In addition to authoring the books Nothing is Wasted (The Operating System, 2017), Forward (Museum Books, 2014) and Ode to Fragile (Plain View Press, 2010), her films have screened at film festivals, art galleries, and public installations around the world. She’s been awarded the Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Award, Poets & Writers Amy Award, the Transport of the Aim Poetry Prize, the Brain Mill Press Editors’ Choice, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, a Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance Grant, a Puffin Foundation grant, a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Grant and a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Her play “A Time to Speak” was staged at the MAD Theatre Festival in the United Kingdom. She is currently directing a documentary film entitled No Separate Survival about asylum seekers across the U.S.-Mexico border. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and teaches in the department of Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts at San Francisco State University. She is the founder and curator of the online art and interview journal MUSEUM. Her art has been exhibited at the Unlike Art Gallery, Elysium Art Gallery, New Gallery London, Youyou Gallery, Jotta, Galleria Perelà, Kala Art Institute, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. You can read more about her work here:


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