Rajiv Mohabir

Cindy Seip

Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Cowherd’s Son: Poems and The Taxidermist’s Cut, and the translator of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara. Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir (Restless Books), is a genre-blending work that navigates the issues of race, sexuality, and cultural heritage that have shaped his experiences as an Indo-Guyanese queer poet and immigrant to the U.S. Growing up in Florida, Mohabir was fascinated by his family’s abandoned Hindu history and the legacy of his ancestors, who were indentured laborers on British sugarcane plantations. After learning his family stories from his grandmother, Aji, Mohabir lives for a year on the banks of the Ganges, perfecting his Hindi and Bhojpuri and tracing the lineage of Aji’s music. Back in Florida, Confederate flags, Islamophobia, and his father’s disapproval push him to New York, where he finds like-minded brown activists and a queer nightlife scene. Then his cousin outs him as an “antiman” – a Caribbean slur for men who love men – and his father and aunts disown him. In Antiman, Mohabir speaks about embracing his identity as a poet and his status as an antiman, and forging a new way of being entirely his own. The Los Angeles Review of Books said the book “weaves together stories, prayer lyrics, journal entries, dictionary definitions, and musical chords to create his kaleidoscopic, genre-defying memoir.”