In How Beautiful People Are, his third collection, Ayaz Pirani continues to write his people’s pothi: a trans-national, inter-generational poetry of post-colonial love and loss animated by the syncretizing figure of Kabir and drawn from the extraordinary diwan of ginan and granth literature. Walking alongside the tiger of Ali and an assortment of beloved infidels, Ayaz uncovers just How Beautiful People Are. After all, what will darkness do, his poems ask, when a true guru makes light?
"How Beautiful People Are is a mosaic of experiences, memories and tradition where these facets of being interplay. It’s a quick read that’ll leave you asking questions about origin and humanity, and a sense of comfort in not having all the answers." – Rukhsar Ali, for The Globe and Mail.
"These pensive poems sparkle with observed life." – Barb Carey, for The Toronto Star
"This collection is a testament to the vulnerability that categorically recognizes each one of us as tragically and beautifully human." – Suha Tariq for The Ampersand Review
The collection "allows for the mutability and durability of the lyric; an exploration that understands the simplicity and the complexity of the first-person narrative line, and the underlying song that the lyric itself requires." – rob mclennan
"With recursive metaphors and motifs that build an immersive diorama, the poems in Ayaz Pirani’s How Beautiful People Are add to themselves and the reader as the pothi progresses. Pirani dexterously yet delicately handles the business of nostalgia, place / displacement, and belonging. Through several incarnations of Wittgenstein’s broom, and with echoes of the verse of Kabir Das, we are introduced to a world of blowdryer armies, car forests, corner lamps, companion sand grains, and suit assemblies where inanimate objects reveal intricacies of this representative universe through their configurations and rearrangements. Just like a broom, or its constituent parts, may mean different things depending on what it is being used for, Pirani uses the prism of language to refract the many possible meanings or locations of home. The speaker of these poems says they are “Not stitched to this place or any place,” and though “There’s no road to [their] village,” and they are not at rest in the world, they are at home in observation." – Tolu Oloruntoba, author of Each One a Furnace