Inaugural Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series Selection

Upon careful review, the Editorial Board of the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series recommends The Book of Redacted Paintings by Arthur Kayzakian for publication through Black Lawrence Press


About the Author:

Arthur Kayzakian is the winner of the 2021 Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series award for his collection, The Book of Redacted Paintings, which was also selected as a finalist for the 2021 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. He is also the winner of the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition for his chapbook, My Burning City. He has been a finalist for the Locked Horn Press Chapbook Prize, Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize, the C.D. Wright Prize, and the Black River Chapbook Competition. He is a contributing editor at Poetry International and a recipient of the Minas Savvas Fellowship. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from several publications, including Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, COUNTERCLOCK, Chicago Review, Nat. Brut, Michigan Quarterly Review, Witness Magazine, and Prairie Schooner.


Artist Statement:

For a long time, I have been obsessed with negative space, primarily the space on the wall after a painting is removed. That’s what drew me to write for the past couple of years. What came out were visions of how we hold loss after invasion, war, and migration; how to reconcile a childhood with fragments of terror, then carry a gallery of stripped experiences inside the body while navigating in a new country through the process of assimilation. The narrative arc is about a boy in search of his father’s painting, but it is unclear whether the painting exists or not. There are a series of paintings in this book. Some are real, incomplete, and/or missing, while most are redacted from reality. The withdrawn paintings concept is the emotional arc of the book. It is a combination of wishing I could paint the pieces I see in my head and the feeling of something torn out from within me due to a traumatic upbringing. I guess this is a sort of Erasure Ekphrasis. I hope you enjoy the artwork I never painted.




              Forgive me, collector, I am trying to get back to my world. 

I’ll leave dark pools of silence on your walls since all your paintings will be gone.