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Categories: 20th Century, BAME, Indian, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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You ask me what I mean
by saying I have lost my tongue.
I ask you, what would you do
if you had two tongues in your mouth,
and lost he first one, the mother tongue,
and could not really know the other,
the foreign tongue.
from 'Search for my Tongue'
'Brunizem' is a dark prairie soil found in Asia, Europe and North America, the three worlds of Sujata Bhatt's imagination. Born in India, her mother tongue Gujarati, Bhatt was educated in the United States and now lives in Germany. In Brunizem, her acclaimed first collection, she explores the richness and the conflicts of moving between cultures and languages, in poems that are passionate, direct and eloquent. Brunizem was awarded the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia) and the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award. In 1994 'Search for My Tongue' was choreographed by Daksha Sheth and performed by the UK-based South Asian Dance Youth Company in nine cities in England and Scotland, under the title 'Tongues Untied'.
Awards won by Sujata Bhatt Winner, 2000 Italian Tratti Poetry Prize Winner, 1991 Cholmondeley Award Winner, 1988 Alice Hunt Bartlett Award (Brunizem) Winner, 1991 Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia)
Short-listed, 1995 Forward Poetry Prize
'An exciting first collection, moving and invigorating.'
Poetry Review Praise for Sujata Bhatt 'a substantial collection of poems, one that allows us to travel, dream and learn, but one that ultimately moves us by the quietude of its stance and its impeccable articulation.'
Times Literary Supplement
Bhatt's style is refreshingly plain and direct, depending for its lyricism on moments of gentle repitition.
Alan Marshall, The Daily Telegraph. 'Sujata Bhatt leads the reader through the bright, familiar world and on into the dark until her words pierce that darkness, offering a light that will challenge and reward. Here are poems that move confidently through that dangerous border-world between the real and the surreal, illuminating both. This book is a treasure-house of modern, magical poems.'
John F. Deane 'Here is a chance to see Sujata Bhatt's favourite themes strengthened by re-gathering. A common theme is language, the very stuff of poetry, given special insight by her travels and her multilingual experience. In India, she says, it is 'a sin to be rude to a book'; 'The Stare' considers two babies, human and monkey, gazing at each other curiously, one with language, the other with' who knows? Elsewhere she considers the loss of her mother tongue, 'dead' in her mouth but returning to her in dreams. A broad-minded, humane, imaginative book.'
Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales
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