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Ayesha Raees’s Coining a Wishing Tower is everything I hope to find when I read a book of poetry—fearless reckoning with unprecedented experience spokenin a singular, deeply and importantly strange lyric voice. My luck, to get to help introduce it to you.Your luck, to get to read it for the first time. — Kaveh Akbar

 

“You are entering a world of Ayesha Raees’ making, a lyric fable woven in tight silk strands. Singular in its voice and imagination, Coining a Wishing Toweris unyielding in its search for truth, for a spiritual tether. Its allegories remind us of what’s holy in the everyday: a mother’s faith, a father’s machinery, a moon in love with a goldfish, the omniscience of Google. She writes, ‘On fifth avenue, I want to be important. I want to hammer a nail into the New York sky. I want to hang myself on its wound’ That’s Raees daring you to leave unchanged.”— Ruth Awad

 

“Ayesha Raees’ Coining a Wishing Tower is a beautiful epic, told through prose poems that surprise with precise and wondrous language. Raees thinks through art, place, family, life, and the afterlife, animating the collection through various characters—House Mouse, Godfish, the moon—and mediating it all through a Pakistani, Muslim, and woman speaker, who traverses racialized and gendered spaces’ pilgrimages of faith and of the imagination; knowing and unknowing. In this debut, we find a bright and wild new voice in poetry.”— Cathy Linh Che

 

“Ayesha Raees’s Coining A Wishing Tower is an exciting debut collection that traverses multiple dimensions and landscapes, both metaphorical and physical. By skillfully playing with the theme of real or not-real, Raees invites the reader to meditate on what constitutes ‘real’ in the first place. The poet explores multiple other themes that play off one another—longing, belonging, departure, arrival, life, death, prayer, performance, and love, to name a few—through recurring figures that reflect and refract one another’s desires. By rendering the figures’ thoughts and situations into prose poetry, Raees also formally illustrates the various enclosures that serve to both trap and liberate the figures. Smart and imaginative, Coining a Wishing Tower is one worth reading over and over for the rich imagery and storytelling; a book that offers a new discovery at each savoring.”— Emily Yoon

 

“With Coining a Wishing Tower, Ayesha Raees’ intercultural, interreligious meditation on family life, childhood, memory, and death, comes a bold imagination populated with a cat and a moon both in love with a Godfish, a House Mouse who performs rituals, where death is one such ritual, and a child who tells their father that ‘The bare minimum to life … is to just live.’ At its core, this collection wrestles with grief amidst life between cultures, religions, and geographic places. After hammering a nail into the sky, the speaker reveals, ‘I want to hang myself on its wound,’ and so too, was I rapt, hanging on the words of Raees’ fashioned wound.“— Diana Khoi Nguyen

 

Ayesha Raees’ debut volume, Coining a Wishing Tower (Platypus Press, 2022), is a dizzying, tragic, and gorgeous treatise on desire, grief, and its associated delusions. The book is told over 56 short, untitled parables containing three narrative threads over two planes of reality. Two of the three threads are closer to fable. They operate through allegory and are populated by personified animals, places, and things: a narcissistic fish named Godfish, a tower resident named House Mouse, a house in the town of New London, Connecticut, the sun, the moon, the cat, etc.
- ARMAN SALEM, Harbor Review

 

These prose-poems, which are whimsical, profound, vulnerable, and full of pathos, grief, and transformation, depict complex relationships between parents and child, religion and women, lovers and the beloved, wishers and wish-granters. There are three separate narrative strands, teleporting between Pakistan; New York City; Makkah; New London, Connecticut; as well as more abstract spaces, like a Desire Path, as well as Barzakh (which, the chapbook tells us, Google calls a “Christian Limbo”).

-Cleo Qian, Four Way Reviews

Coining A Wishing Tower

SKU: 5
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