CURB maps our post-9/11 political landscape by locating the wounds of domestic terrorism at unacknowledged sites of racial and religious conflict across cities and suburbs of the United States.

Divya Victor documents how immigrants and Americans navigate the liminal sites of everyday living: lawns, curbs, and sidewalks undergirded by violence but also constantly repaved with new possibilities of belonging. CURB witnesses immigrant survival, familial bonds, and interracial parenting in the context of nationalist and white-supremacist violence against South Asians. The book refutes the binary of the model minority and the monstrous, dark “other” by reclaiming the throbbing, many-tongued, vermillion heart of kith.

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The Curb(ed) interactive webspace functions as a sensory, multi-disciplinary companion to Curb. It hosts materials created in response to the book’s poetry: rhetorical musical assemblages created by composer Dr. Carolyn Chen; experimental, minimalist documentary using Google satellite imaging, created by artist and writer Amarnath Ravva; and drawings by illustrator and designer Karin Aue.  

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A complex and moving array of imagistic arguments-with-history about skin, post-colonialism, travel, exile, fluids, and cultural materialism.

Kith describes post-colonialist relation from the painful psychohistorical perspective of a hybrid, in multiple exiles. Victor reaps the pain, reams the pain, approaches the painful material from striated vantages, using discrete methodologies of extraction. This is not a pretty poetry of nostalgia for bittersweet pungencies, no invitation to savor bemusing exoticisms; this poetry invites disassociation from that which is no longer to be borne.

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Natural Subjects

“‘May I see your passport, please?’ What are you a citizen of? What subject to? Are you natural or naturalized? What have you sworn to and will you tell true? Divya Victor, true to form in wit and poetic acuteness, has made a book about nations, nationality, and their notions by showing documents, facts, fictional and real heroines, instructions for assembly, and lyric lists that makes readers acknowledge their own disassembly, distribution, and/ or dispersal in an on-going diaspora. This acute work by Victor teases civic ideologies in all their motley, pervasive constructions by writing from multiple subjectivities and engineering defiance, struggles with agency, language play, appropriated commentaries, and revelations of loss. A multi-faceted book of high interest.”

Rachel Blau DuPlessis, author of Drafts

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Things to Do with Your Mouth

Attempts to control the mouths of “speaking women” — 17th century witches, 19th century hysterics—have taken many forms, both physical and metaphorical. In Things to Do with Your Mouth, Divya Victor repeats, recants, and relentlessly echoes a textual meeting place for the psychic and corporeal implications of this "fear of women with excessive powers of speech and discourse," creating a cacophonous movement towards the feminist purpose of poetics. Culling language from texts as diverse as nursery rhymes and contemporary pediatric health websites, the biblical Song of Solomon and Freud’s “Analysis of a Case of Hysteria,” Victor confronts this long history of the “silenced mouth.” Section by section, appropriated word by appropriated word, Victor relishes in the buccal opening, its capacity for words and discourse, addressing Nietzsche's claim that the world “lives on itself: its excrements are its nourishment.” These words will “eat you alive, digest you, leave you scattered.” Or, as CA Conrad states in his afterword, these reutterances will ultimately “liberate” us “one cough at a time. The mouth in, the mouth out, mouths training mouths around the always-imperfect O.”

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©2024 Divya Victor

Portrait photograph by Marco Giugliarelli
Website design by Sean Deyoe