The Repetition of Exceptional Weeks is a speculation about relationships, and how an inability to say things well can dislocate places, languages, and centers. Poetry, screenplay, novel? A wayward path through the meeting places, unmolding from a place with loving attunement.
About the Author
Rajnesh Chakrapani is the author of the speculative chapbook Brown People who Speak English published by Guesthouse. He received a Pen/Heim translation fund grant and fellowships from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, Fulbright, and the Center for the study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity at Washington University, St. Louis.
Raj Chakrapani's The Repetition of Exceptional Weeks is an experimental novel, a lyric poem, a book of portraiture, a plural memoir of lockdown's phenomenological rupture. To move within it is to be carried by a double current of photograph and text, like "a body of water that could be a picture or a communion," which runs with a desire for something in place of "the image and the body in conflict." Through this motion, Chakrapani locates us between the question of place and the layered and shifting map of that question whose coordinates mark what we can say of ourselves. The Repetition of Exceptional Weeks is a brilliant work which opens full of feeling the construction of a dislocation of being here and/or there, from here or from there, in a struggle to find our place with ourselves and among others.
— Lewis Freedman, author of I Want Something Other Than Time
This book is about family, belonging, dislocation, Anyways, a cooperative house that may not be real—What is a place?—utopia, grief, quarantine time, “routines and territories of overlapping,” blurry migration, language and the body—Is genre always translation?—survival, imprints, origin stories—Can a foreigner be happy?—the intimacy of strangers, stills from a movie I’ve never seen. Read it and revel in wonder. The secret subject is you and me.
—Gabrielle Civil, author of the déjà vu: black dreams & black time
“You try to conjure layers of a place without using the words dis-place, or home, how layers of language create a loose structure of trust.” “A place is a language you refuse to speak.”
Raj Chakrapani’s The Repetition of Exceptional Weeks both analyzes and enacts its discourse, which is a world of careful attention to sentences that place a space, and what it might offer by way of sociality, labor, and undertaking plus all the liminal beauty that is hard to grasp. It is in this vital linking of photographs and poems that we stay astonished with Chakrapani’s preternatural sentience, of what this language auspiciously affords even as it holds both ambivalence and necessity.
—Prageeta Sharma, author of Grief Sequence
I’m not sure which part of Rajnesh Chakrapani’s The Repetition of Exceptional Weeks is the most exceptional: the images, the exquisite language, the risk of exposing one’s deepest thoughts, or the poet’s heart that shows us what it means to endure in the time of contagion. They are all exceptional as they braid together into something transformative. The prose moves as image, as poetry, as prose to bear testimony to how this group survived together through stories during the COVID-19 lockdown. Indeed Chakrapani says, “These sentences on the wall are maps you can make, and the map is a translation I can share with you…” For me, these shared sentences in a quilted patchwork of intimate complexities invites us all to rethink the worn paths of connectivity, to extend ourselves, as this deft writer does, into the personal interior landscapes of those minds we think we know.
—Rajiv Mohabir, author of Cutlish, Antiman (Winner of the 2021 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing) and translator of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara