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I'm filled with admiration for what you've achieved, and particularly for the hard work and the 'cottage industry' aspect of it.
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ISBN: 978 1 857544 72 5
Categories: 21st Century, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: March 2000
215 x 135 x 13 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
Humming your Nocturne on the Circle Line,
unlike the piano, running out of breath
I've been writing you out of my life
my loves (one out, one in).
I've pushed you out of the way to see
what the gaps in my life might look like,
how large they are,
how quickly I could write them in;
and not (at least till I've lost you both)
rewriting you only means
that the spaces I'm not writing in are where I live.
Mimi Khalvati's Selected Poems draws on her three Carcanet collections, In White Ink (1991), Mirrorwork (1995) and Entries on Light (1997). It provides us with the essential Khalvati, from the ambitiously wrought early formal poems, full of Persian and personal shadows, through to the meditations in the long sequence Entries on Light. She brings into English poetry distinct formal and tonal elements of Persian and Islamic provenance. A mature eroticism marks her poems; also, a feeling for nature in all its varieties. She is partial to the long poem built out of distinct parts, the sequence or series, from Plant Care in her first book to Entries on Light itself.
Praise for Mimi Khalvati 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
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.
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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