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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

Pulled Pork in Paris

Athar C. Pavis

Athar C. Pavis gives us a beautiful, authentic and moody immersion in Paris, the Paris I remember from years ago—foreign, kind and without tourists. To hope, she writes, is a Parisian sky/ lifting the gaze to see/ horizons vaster than the eye/ encompasses. This collection is like visiting the author to experience a personal understanding, small moments of dwelling with a sharp-eyed resident. The poems are intimate and rich and you will find yourself there in Paris, line by line, the city of lovers, learning personal wisdoms: Never marry a man without meeting his father. You will yearn to share a second life/ made possible in me. Take an evening walk and love the bells of Notre Dame/ sounding the evening hour,/ twilight rose-tinted on the stone,/ochre on alabaster. I recommend this unique and delightful collection.

—Peggy Miller, poet, Editor with Comstock Review

Pulled Pork in Paris is a saucy title for a collection of truly excellent poems. Athar Pavis has put together an intricate mosaic of her best work from many journals—work that touches on personal relationships, interaction in the workplace, deep psychological perception, brutally honest reflections about aging, and (in a very pointed way) the contrariness of the American temperament in a maddeningly French milieu. Pavis also raises questions about aesthetic practice, and whether the balm of poetry can fill the void of life’s disappointments. Most of the poems here are short, but some are extended accounts of complex argumentation on issues of cultural and political conflict. Above all else, Pavis remains the voice of sanity and intelligence in all situations, whether public or private. This is a book of quiet poetry, but it is not reticent. Athar Pavis has much to say, and insists on being heard.

—Joseph S. Salemi, poet, Editor of Trinacria

When reading these marvelous poems, I am often reminded of Ruskin’s maxim: Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. Athar C. Pavis is a poet for whom the disciplined observation of the things around her is intensified into a kind of moral urgency. Her poems free us from the blinding simulacra that tempt us at every turn.

— William Thompson, poet, Editor of the Alabama Literary Review

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