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In White Ink

Mimi Khalvati

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Paperback
ISBN: 978 0 856359 49 1
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 1991
216 x 134 x 8 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • Mimi Khalvati's first book of poems takes its title from Helene Cixous' observation that women write 'in white ink'. The resonances of this phrase are explored in many of these poems. Writing in her adoptive mother tongue, Khalvati explores loss and recovery of country, language, family and power. As an Iranian and a woman who has lived mainly in the West, she discovers a hitherto silenced voice, sited in 'the feminine'. While evoking male/female relationships, the poems affirm the centrality of women and their relationships and celebrate, too, with candour and gentleness, the power of motherhood. Much of the work draws on the experience of the Iranian diaspora and on early childhood memories, serving to undermine current Iranian/Islamic stereotypes. Using traditional and free verse, colour and lyricism in imagery and rhythm, Khalvati achieves a reconciliation of her various worlds.
    Born in Tehran in 1944, Mimi Khalvati grew up on the Isle of Wight and attended the Drama Centre, London. She then worked as a theatre director in Tehran, translating from English into Farsi and devising new plays, as well as co-founding the Theatre in Exile group. She now lives in ... read more
    This brilliant poet's crab-apple tree imparts the same kind of gorgeous and devastating self-knowledge granted Eve by the biblical Tree of Life.
    Rafel Campo, Boston Review
     
    Praise for Mimi Khalvati This open and generous readiness to engage with all realities and see their worth gives Khalvati her power... graceful accomplishment is always in the service of a fundamental seriousness.
    Bernard O'Donoghue, Poetry London
    A lovely book, so accomplished, various, comprehensive and abundant. The poems are quick and touching, joyfully and sorrowfully open to the phenomena of the real world, they say what it feels like being human, the good and the ill of it, with passion, tact and lightness.
    David Constantine
    Khalvati's writing draws on diverse worlds and poetic traditions, and enriches the dominant culture of British poetry...Intricate, sensuous and vulnerable...Mimi Khalvati's work will endure.
    Moniza Alvi, Poetry Wales
     Mimi Khalvati is one of the most poignant and graceful poets writing in England currently. The Meanest Flower speaks often of grief and loss but also of great pleasure in the world, in gardens, in loves, in other people. Under the lyricism there is an iron control that achieves its grace through subtlety. There reader is aware one is in the presence of a mind, a heart and an ear that has been schooled in depth, that finds it as naturally as do the flowers of the title.
    George Szirtes
    Khalvati writes exquisitely nuanced lyrics of love and loss, which draw on childhood, motherhood and the natural world. These [The Meanest Flower] are tender poems in the English Romantic tradition.
    No. 3 in 'The Ten Best New poetry collections' - Independent, 2007
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