Book of Kin

Winner of the 2023 Poetry Prize, selected by January Gill O'Neil

US List Price: $17.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book.

Book of Kin

Winner of the 2023 Poetry Prize, selected by January Gill O'Neil

US List Price: $17.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book.

About the Book

Darius Atefat-Peckham’s debut poetry collection follows a boy’s coming of age in the aftermath of a car accident that took the lives of both his mother and brother. Through these poems, Atefat-Peckham constructs a language for grief that is porous and revelatory, spoken assuredly across the imagination, bridging time and space, and creating a reciprocal haunting between the living and the dead.

Inspired by the Persian epic The Book of Kings, the Sufi mystic poetry of Rumi, and his mother’s poetry, these poems form a path of connection between the author and his Iranian heritage. Book of Kin interrogates what it means to exist between cultures, to be a survivor of tragedy, to practice love and joy toward one’s beloveds, and to hope for greater connection through poems that wade through time and memory “like so many fish spreading swimming in the green-blue.”


Praise for Book of Kin 

I’m overwhelmed by the love and care in the gorgeous Book of Kin by Darius Atefat-Peckham. These immensely tender, radiant poems sing love for a mother, a father, a brother, language, the courageous women of Iran, and memory itself.  “You are your own / son. North is north, wherever / you are.” “. . . A mother / who will never leave, never die, / who will die, many times, and over and / over, but stay / there / on that shore / ready / to receive me. To gather, make a nest of me . . .” Fluid and fluent, humble and ever-seeking, Atefat-Peckham welcomes us all into a nest that contains everything humans can live. He gives us room.
—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of The Tiny Journalist

“My mother lived, maybe, / half the life of a blueberry / bush, crown jewel of / Iran, first masterpiece / of god, eyes, dark / sheen before ruin.” This is a son’s book, a dire and loving book spoken from deep inside a legacy of grief and dislocation, in a voice exiled from the mother, the mother tongue and the mother country, reaching toward all three in lyrics fueled in equal measure by fury and devotion.
—Mark Doty, author of Deep Lane

Praise for Darius Atefat-Peckham’s debut poetry collection Book of Kin and its compelling, profound, and worldly poems! With exquisite language and soulful reflections, each poem unfurls a kaleidoscope of experiences. An exploration of grief and cultural identity emerges, walking the line between connection and belonging as the speaker examines the nature of loss. Atefat-Peckham is a bright, bright light, and this collection is simply beautiful.
—January Gill O’Neil, author of Glitter Road

How do we honor those we love? How do we grieve those we barely knew? How do we muster the capacity to sing joy and even praise in a world riddled with violence? In poems at once intimate and epic, Darius Atefat-Peckham insists that we listen, that we allow ourselves to need, that we seek beloveds everywhere and in everything. Book of Kin is a revelation and a consolation—an ecstatic elegy, and a luminous incantation.
—Tracy K. Smith, author of Such Color and Life on Mars

Darius Atefat-Peckham is an Iranian-American poet and essayist. His work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, Poem-a-Day, The Georgia Review, Indiana Review, The Journal, Rattle and elsewhere. He’s also been included in many anthologies, including My Shadow is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora (University of Texas Press). In 2018, he was selected by the Library of Congress as a […]

Learn More