USEREVIEW 116 (Capsule): WJD
WJD (Gordon Hill Press, 2022)
ISBN 978-1-77422-070-2 | 68 of 138 pp* | $20 CAD | BUY Here
Khashayar Mohammadi’s second full-length collection of poetry, WJD, is an absorbing phenomenological exploration of language, culture, country and spirit. While rangy, roaming different literal and figurative landscapes from Iran to “pre-cosmic” nothingness, the poems are singular in their bubbling richness; an intensity that punches as it delights, plucks at the darkness but also, proffers a hard-won hope. We can see an example of this dualism in the title poem, ‘WJD.’ Mohammadi writes, “to heal through nature / is to heal nature // healing at the birds’ frequency / a lesson.”
As we wander through different landscapes and mindscapes, Mohammadi’s deliberate and disarming lyricism forces us to confront human complacency, our complicity in the injustices of the world. These lines from ‘The Antlered Wine-Bearer’ are a stunning summation of this wilful blindness: “the prophecy of our ancient proximity to profound pain and / suffering / and the sun shines on / buzzing.”
Mohammadi’s work is a request — gracious but firm — to sit with the discomfort of our comfort. To question its cost.
*Reviewers’ note: WJD includes a second book within this book itself, Mohammadi’s translation of Saeed Tavanaee Marvi’s The Ocean Dweller. For the purposes of this capsule review, I have focused only on the non-translated original poems of Mohammadi that make up WJD.
‘At the Hospital’ (p. 65) shows us Mohammadi’s ability to weave hope and hopelessness; chaos and control; meaning and incoherence. His words have an inherent melody: “and I am perhaps sick and tired and a little hopeful of sunrise.”