Let Us Now Praise Ordinary Things
"Nearly everyone I know, when asked what they’ll miss when they leave this world, has a list. On mine is Kareem Tayyar’s latest collection, “Let Us Now Praise Ordinary Things,” which is so full of loveliness and hope and beauty it makes me wish the world and everything and everyone in it immortal. This collection – in the spirit of Pablo Neruda, Rumi, and that beloved chronicler of ordinary things, Amy Krause Rosenthal, who left this earth way too soon – celebrates everything from talking to houseplants, to singing in the shower, to late-night drive-throughs and hippies with “hearts as wide as their bell bottom jeans.” Open to any work in this wonderful collection and I promise you’ll find a golden tether to this life. Especially beautiful are Tayyar’s meditations on teaching and students, who, he writes in “On Teaching,” are “the ones who soon enough will set about beautifying the world in ways I cannot even begin to imagine.” I could not even begin to imagine a collection this full of life and joy. Praise Kareem Tayyar, who gives us his heart and voice at a time when it feels more urgent than ever.”
—Lori Jakiela, Author of “Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe”
THE PRINCE OF ORANGE COUNTY
It’s the summer of 1986 in Orange County, California, and ten-year-old Thomas Kabiri’s father has just left for Iran to attend a funeral. With no school in session for the next few months, and Thomas’s mother working two jobs to keep the family afloat, Thomas can live like Fountain Valley’s answer to Huck Finn, spending his unsupervised days playing basketball at the local park, where an assorted cast of local characters come to shoot hoops, argue about pop culture, and tell tall tales so grandiose they would put Walter Mitty to shame.
However, everything changes when Thomas befriends Earl Lewis, an ex-professional basketball player who has arrived in town to look for a former teammate who vanished ten years earlier. As Earl slowly becomes the second father Thomas needs at this point in his life, Thomas, with his encyclopedic knowledge of the Southern California playground basketball scene, helps Earl in his search to find his long-lost friend. As Thomas and Earl’s quest takes them all over Southern California, Thomas slowly begins to learn about the world that exists beyond the basketball court, and what he ultimately wants his place in that world to be.
The Prince of Orange County is, like Nick Hornby’s About A Boy and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a work that captures the sometimes funny, sometimes painful, always colorful experience that is growing up, and it does so with an unwavering affection for its large and diverse cast of characters.
MAGIC CARPET POEMS
These poems transport me. While they have a Whitmanian sensibility, they are uniquely Tayyar. No one can walk away from this collection without realizing "the world around him was full of latent magic."
And while this collection resonates magic, it is full of loss? that while people run into the streets, they are also holding out their "arms to embrace everything/ That we could never hold." There is an utter tenderness too, as in "The Artist of Helen Street" whose "hands are shaping the final turrets of a sand castle" in a photograph and she smiles "not because you believe the castle will last forever, but because you know the sea can only swallow one of them at a time."
I long for such hope, transcendence, and honesty in a collection? a book that acts as both a mirror to the world and the world within this world? and I am thankful for Tayyar's Magic Carpet Poems for being one of those rare collections that transport me in the very ways I need to be transported
--Kelly Moffett, Author of Waiting for a Warm Body to Fill It and Bird Blind
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE SILVER KING
In the Footsteps of the Silver King follows one man's quest to recover his dead father's World Championship silver medal in soccer. Patrick is led through the West Coast and Iran to rediscover his father's past. The world he enters is so wrapped up in its dream of the 1960s that his world and his father's world become entangled. Tayyar explores America's relationship with history, popular culture, music, sports, immigration, and love in a novel that is equal parts comedy, family drama, and nostalgia.
A carefully selected collection of poems by Paul Kareem Tayyar, told from the perspective of a mystical, perhaps godlike homeless veteran.Includes the following poems: UnfaithfulYour patience is a lie that you sustainAn ethos forged from the landscape of a second faceAll the days that you are certain will be yoursYour brothers carry with them when they leave The MagicianYou want so badly to tell how it's doneThat you tell it to yourself each night before sleep,Narrating a film that no one will see,The sound of the rain like the beating of wings,The applause you receive for keeping the secret.
SCENES FROM A GOOD LIFE
"These big-hearted, all-embracing poems are a celebration of life--of Paul Tayyar's deeply felt connection to the world around him and his sense of kinship with all humanity--from family and friends to the homeless and downtrodden. In SCENES FROM A GOOD LIFE, Tayyar gives voice to a generation that grew up in Orange County--where buildings are torn down and rebuilt every ten years, 'The strawberry fields...buried like old Indian/ Gravesites...' He is not, however, speaking of privilege and wealth--'the good life' promulgated by the media and popularized by The O.C.--but of a better life, filled with intelligence, humor, and insight, and an enduring sense of wonder"