Ayaz Pirani (ayazpirani.com) was born in Musoma, Tanzania to parents born in Kapsabet and Tanga. He grew up in Canada and studied Humanities and Writing at Collège Glendon in Toronto and Concordia University in Montreal. At Vermont College of Fine Arts, Ayaz was a student of the late Jack Myers. Happy You Are Here (The Word Works 2016) is his first book.
In this lovely and loving collection, Ayaz Pirani positions himself as a kind of plainspoken anti-prophet, bringing human nosiness and gratitude to a number of subjects – displacement and immigration, the oak woods of the Arroyo Seco, a mother’s love, a pub in Toronto, “dark-haired beauties”, Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater – as well as the more mysterious geographies of the soul. Pirani’s images and exhortations will stop up your throat and thrum in your heart.
— Heather Birrell, author of I Know You Are But What Am I? and Mad Hope, both published by Coach House.
In this tender and intimate debut, Ayaz Pirani attempts something radical. He sings quietly, in the face of fallen majesty. “A speck I say which / is no less than a scent you say / no more than a fourth / of a glance,” he laments. “If only / I could make it to the Ngorongoro Crater / and empty my pockets,” he rues. Wherever “here” is—be it the mosque, a yellow kitchen, planet Earth, or the Necropolis, or be it simply this sad world “of diminishing returns”—Pirani maps an austere happiness, and discovers, in love’s company, an iridescent interior.
–Suzanne Buffam, author of Past Imperfect (House of Anansi) and The Irrationalist (Canarium Books)