Winner of the 2022 PEN Open Book Award!
Winner of the 2022 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award!
Finalist for the 2022 CLMP Firecracker Awards in Poetry!
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.
"This stunning collection challenges readers to reconsider the fragile boundaries people share with one another as well as the reduction of bodies to mere scapegoats."—Starred Publishers Weekly Review
"This is an incredibly well-crafted collection by a globally minded, locally rooted, exceedingly brilliant poet."—Starred Booklist
"In poems of brilliant aesthetic diversity and haunting imagery ('Stop bath & rinse,/ then hang up this feeling/ by its arms'), Curb illuminates and challenges the boundaries that divide and discipline us."—Evie Shockley, NPR
"Curb is more than a personal poetics of loss and identity. It is even more than a well-written eulogy of five murdered South Asian Americans. It is a profound act of poetic debridement for the South Asian American diaspora, and an insistent plea to resist erasure by first acknowledging, absorbing, processing, and remembering our own communal histories."—Jenny Bhatt, NPR
"Curb highlights an ongoing injustice in this country: that the only thing that connects an immigrant to the American land after their death (or murder) will be a “written/ . . . scrap tied to a place / which holds your feet / to the ground.” Victor’s collection is thus a must-read, in its offering of a moving critique of the South Asian immigrant experience within post 9/11 America."—Ploughshares
"The lush, slightly off-center diction in Divya Victor’s CURB is immediately striking. In a poem set in a consulate, we read that 'they first lift / serosa from serosa.' Later, we learn how 'to pleach a tree,' and to distinguish between 'aloe, an organ; saffron, an ovary.' This sparkling lyricism helps orientate us as we navigate and attempt to cross the book’s multiple thresholds."—Jay G. Ying, The Poetry Foundation's Harriet Books
"Victor ends her verse with her own explanation of placing coordinates at the dog-ears of the pages, marking the presence of immigrants, leaving a trace. She explains the symbolism of the snail, carrying its home on its back."—Vagabond City
"The curbs in this collection serve many purposes: to show suburban life, the peripheral nature of South Asian belonging and inclusion, and the structures (and infrastructures) of (white) power that threaten us every day. This is poetry as documentation, a testimony to the endurances of white supremacy."—Electric Literature
"CURB is a literary milestone that may initially feel minimal in structure (its table of contents includes only fourteen items), but when read it extends to the farthest reaches of the heart. Victor channels the suffering and persistence of her subjects, and through a posthumous revisiting at once ritualistic and humanely revisionist, she builds a broader story that both honors them and includes us all."—Greg Bem, Rain Taxi
"Divya Victor’s innovative lyrical exactness lays bare the US nationalist project and movingly documents and reenacts exact moments of diasporic bodies lived out in place and history. Curb maps out the exact locations of post-9/11 white-supremacist violence against South Asians with exact markings of dots, lines, squares, DMS coordinates, soundscapes, diacritical marks, Latin, Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Tamil, and 'No English.' Curb’s existential coordinates of exactitude cast a powerful spell against empire’s geography."—Don Mee Choi, author of National Book Award Winner DMZ Colony
"Divya Victor’s Curb is extraordinary: it is a sobering poetic look at how white supremacy “curbs” the brown civilian who can slip between Muslim and Black, between terrorist and illegal. If they’re not targeted for what they are, they’re mistaken for what they’re not—with sometimes fatal consequences. Victor explores the murders of South Asians in America with piercing acumen, re-arranging historical documents into wholly original compositional strategies that draws me in but also pushes me back. I can never know what happened, only perceive the disquieting absence of lives annihilated by structural violence. Layered, rich, and epic, Curb is an incredible collection that must be read and re-read."—Cathy Park Hong, author of NYT Bestseller Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
"Divya Victor’s fine-spun Curb carefully tracks, documents, and descriptively elucidates the vertitable language of testimony to make visible the invisibility of South Asians, particularly those targeted and erased by domestic terrorism and violence in the United States. These poems speak with potency as they innovate methods of thinking about what a speaker can witness and who they can address. These poems buck the traditional lyric to go to the matters of the 'she in me,' to what is 'swollen and pressing,' to the 'birth certificates' and the 'death certificates,' and to the lives that are 'settled out of suitcases.' She writes deepening sequences that evoke the 'locution/location' at the heart of migration. Curb is as extraordinary as her previous book, Kith, and continues to build on its perceptual engagements. This collection is an outstanding document that locates us in the coordinates of an abode where we can discuss who gets counted, heard, or “read” with the compassion and love required to belong in community."—Prageeta Sharma