Anis Shivani


Anis Shivani’s debut book of criticism, Against the Workshop:  Provocations, Polemics, Controversies was published by Texas Review Press/Texas A&M University Consortium in November 2011.  The book is a selection of his reviews and essays published over the last decade. It contains his Pushcart Prize-winning essay on creative writing programs.

In his criticism, Anis often explores the intersections of the political economy of writing with particular styles in fiction and poetry. The decline of American fiction and poetry since the peak of high modernism and the current state of writing under the MFA/creative writing regime are particular points of concern.

Anis’s criticism, reviews, and interviews appear regularly in literary journals such as the Georgia Review, Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cambridge Quarterly, Contemporary Review (Oxford), Stand, Boulevard, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, Texas Review, Harvard Review, American Book Review, Quarterly West, Notre Dame Review, South Carolina Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Race & Class, and many others.

Online, Anis has been reviewing, writing essays, and interviewing authors frequently for the Huffington Post.

Anis is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and frequently reviews books for newspapers and magazines such as the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Charlotte Observer, St. Petersburg Times, Kansas City Star, In These Times, Brooklyn Rail, Texas Observer, and others.

Selected Criticism and Reviews

Excerpt from forthcoming essay in BoulevardThe Creative Writing/MFA System is a Closed, Undemocratic Medieval Guild System that Represses Good Writing.

White American Male Playing It Safe:  The Growing Phenomenon of the Kirby Poet from South Carolina Review

What Kind of Social Poetry Was Being Written in 1940s America? from Antigonish Review

Review of Aravind Adiga from Harvard Review chosen as Powell’s Review-a-Day

The Shrinking of American Fiction from Antioch Review

Why Is American Fiction In Its Current Dismal State from Pleiades

The New Biography of Pathology: Essay-Review of Blake Bailey’s Biography of John Cheever and Tracy Daugherty’s Biography of Donald Barthelme from the Antioch Review

American’s Most Prominent Emerging Poets Respond to the Obama Administration from Huffington Post

Why the New Best American Poetry Sucks Even More Than Its Twenty-One Predecessors from Huffington Post

Working-Class Fiction Today:  Review of Eric Miles Williamson from New Letters

“Second-Wave Feminist Poetry:  Review of Judy Grahn” from Prairie Schooner

Review-essay of Patricia Smith, Andrei Codrescu, and Raymond McDaniel in Michigan Quarterly Review

Review-essay of books related to the final Bush years in Contemporary Review (Oxford)

Review-essay of books related to torture and terrorism in The Georgia Review

Review of Siste Viator by Sarah Manguso from New South

Review of A Disorder Peculiar to the Country by Ken Kalfus from Notre Dame Review

San Francisco Chronicle

Wetlands by Charlotte Roche

Two Marriages by Phillip Lopate

The Peep Diaries by Hal Niedzviecki

The Cardboard Universe by Christopher Miller

Huffington Post

The 15 Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers

The 10 Best Books of 2009

The Most Anticipated Books for the Rest of 2010

15 Feisty Independent Presses

Boston Globe

Facing Cold Hard Truths About Global Warming

Stranger in a Strangle Land: Review of Kapitoil

Oe’s Autobiographical Novel Explores Limits of Memory

St. Petersburg Times

Melissa Kwasny’s Reading Novalis in Montana

A. Manette Ansay’s Good Things I Wish For You

Paul Staborin’s After America and Simon Schama’s The American Future

Arthur Phillips’s The Song Is You


Kansas City Star

Five Accomplished Poets Publish Collections.” Review of Kay Ryan, Edward Hirsch, Bob Hicok, Sherod Santos, and Tony Hoagland.

Review of J. M. Coetzee’s Summertime.

Austin American-Statesman

Review of John Banville’s The Infinities.

Two Poets of Southwestern Alienation.” Review of Benjamin Alire Saenz and Carrie Fountain.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Review of Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

Review of Franz Wright.

The Texas Observer

The House Built on Sand.” Review of books on the economic collapse.

Illusion Nation.” Review of Chris Hedges.

The Brooklyn Rail


Sample Interviews

Interview with Chang Rae-Lee for Asia Literary Review

Interview with Calvert Morgan, Editor of HarperPerennial

The New Henry Miller Speaks Out

Is this the Funniest Novelist in America?

The Best Post 9/11 Novel: Interview with Teddy Wayne, Author of Kapitoil

Interview with Murzban Shroff

Interview with Barbara Ehrenreich


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