A God at the Door

Tishani Doshi

“We are homesick everywhere,” writes Tishani Doshi, “even when we’re home.” With aching empathy, righteous anger, and rebellious humor, A God at the Door calls on the extraordinary minutiae of nature and humanity to redefine belonging and unveil injustice. In an era of pandemic lockdown and brutal politics, these poems make vital space for what must come next―the return of wonder and free movement, and a profound sense of connection to what matters most. From a microscopic cell to flightless birds, to a sumo wrestler and the tree of life, Doshi interrupts the news cycle to pause in grief or delight, to restore power to language. A God at the Door invites the reader on a pilgrimage―one that leads us back to the sacred temple of ourselves. This is an exquisite, generous collection from a poet at the peak of her powers.

ISBN: 9781556594526

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Tishani Doshi is an award-winning writer and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent. Born in Madras, India, in 1975, she received a masters in writing from the Johns Hopkins University, and worked in London in advertising before returning to India in 2001, where a chance encounter with the choreographer Chandralekha led her to an unexpected career in dance. She has published seven books of fiction and poetry, the most recent of which are Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, shortlisted for …

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A God at the Door is an ambitious and exploratory book about the contradictions of aging, feminist archetypes, and historical and contemporary ruins. . . . Few are able to write with such range of sensibilities, which are, in a sense, nomadic and voraciously searching. There are lines that are so pleasurable to the ear (“Drum up a feast of rain”) and so leveling in their brutal intelligence (“The dog is an epistemologist / even though she cannot spell the word. / She knows what she knows”) that the route of her future work has me curious. And waiting.”—Poetry Foundation

“By invoking the mythic associations of femininity, fertility, and the environment, Doshi imbues her meditations on modern-day devastations with a sense of wonder. Even as she writes about issues as current as COVID-19, she never loses sight of the smallness of our moment and the knowledge that even if we do not live to see it, there will be new growth where there has been loss.”—Chicago Review of Books

“A glimpse into what it means to be inconsolably, joyously human.” —Rita Dove, The New York Times Magazine

“Tishani Doshi… offer[s] an eloquent dissection of the body—its attributes, metaphors, deficiencies and contradictions—all delivered in chromatic, richly textured lines, in which the assured manipulation of rhythm and internal rhyme produces poems of remarkable balance and grace.” —The Guardian

“Doshi’s searing imagery and high lyrics are bound to take readers’ breath in equal measure.” —Publishers

“This poetry book, written during the height of pandemic lockdowns, looks ahead at what comes next. What must come next. These poems take in the wonders of life and translate them into stories of wonder and free movement, poems focusing on connecting to what is most important in our lives. Politics and the news cycle are oppressive, and this collection offers a reprieve without mere escape.” —Book Riot

“In one of this book’s lush, thoughtful, sometimes necessarily jarring poems, Tishani Doshi writes, “the body of earth is the body of us.” Perhaps we care for our own and each other’s bodies with just as much, and just as little reverence as we care for the earth. Throughout A God at the Door, Doshi demonstrates where the divine is at work in the mundane, and places where the world severs the living from the divine. No, she is more specific than that. Doshi writes how humans destroy life, killing the divine inside others. This book’s gaze is global and copious. It moves from lost species to lost coasts to lives lost to gunfire in a maternity clinic in Kabul. But, the witness accompanies a fierce will toward survival. The language in A God at the Door is fiery and mesmerizing, as if sparked by something we might call the divine.” —Orion

“Tishani Doshi’s latest poetry collection is a practice in rewilding the familiar horrors of contemporary life. . . . These poems neither reveal some hidden layer to the horrors nor glory in an omniscient moral clarity. Instead, they offer dispatches on how religious and legendary forces press so many of these scenes of struggle into their heartbreaking shapes. . . . This book is most successful as a single event, one that simultaneously reveals legend and makes it. This helps us identify the poems’ shared genre as something in between scriptural and cultural, between lesson and observation.” —Christian Century

“Poetry, in many ways, as history tells us, makes many things happen, and Doshi’s poetry is a consolation in these dark times. There is a richness of human experiences coupled with humanistic concerns that tell us how to write and create poetry despite the darkness.”—Kathmandu Post