Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing (Crab Orchard Series in Poetry) (Paperback)

By Charif Shanahan

Southern Illinois University Press, 9780809335770, 96pp.

Publication Date: January 20, 2017



In this affecting poetry debut, Charif Shanahan explores what it means to be fully human in our wounded and divided world. In poised yet unrelenting lyric poems, Shanahan--queer and mixed-race--confronts the challenges of a complex cultural inheritance, informed by colonialism and his mother's immigration to the United States from Morocco, navigating racial constructs, sexuality, family, and the globe in search of "who we are to each other . . . who we are to ourselves."

With poems that weave from Marrakesh to Zurich to London, through history to the present day, this book is, on its surface, an uncompromising exploration of identity in personal and collective terms. Yet the collection is, most deeply, about intimacy and love, the inevitability of human separation and the challenge of human connection. Urging us to reexamine our own place in the broader human tapestry, Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing announces the arrival of a powerful and necessary new voice.

About the Author

Charif Shanahan was born in the Bronx in 1983 to an Irish-American father and a Moroccan mother. He holds an MFA in poetry from New York University. His poems have appeared in Baffler, Boston Review, Callaloo, Literary Hub, New Republic, Poetry International, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. He has received awards and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Cave Canem, the Frost Place, the Fulbright Program, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and Stanford University, where he is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry.