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Child

New and Selected Poems 1991-2011

Mimi Khalvati

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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847770 94 3
Categories: 21st Century, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 2011
216 x 135 x 15 mm
180 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
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  • Awards
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  • Child:New and Selected Poems 1991-2011 combines a generous collation of poems from Mimi Khalvati’s five Carcanet volumes with previously uncollected sequences. She orders her work autobiographically, telling the stories of her life in four sections: childhood and early adulthood; motherhood; meditations on light; and love and art, circling back to childhood in her celebrated final sequence (‘The Meanest Flower’). The figure of the child stands at the centre of the book, appearing in many guises: the poet as a schoolgirl on the Isle of Wight, or in half-remembered later years living with her grandmother in Tehran; her two children, now grown up; children in art; and an enduring sense of oneself as a child that is never left behind.

    Here is the essential Khalvati: exquisitely nuanced, formally accomplished, Romantic in sensibility; rapturous and tender in response to nature, family and love. Her poems, David Constantine writes, ‘say what it feels like being human, the good and the ill of it, with passion, tact and lightness.'

    Selected Poems

    I

    Shanklin Chine
    Writing Home
    The Alder Leaf
    Writing Letters
    Villanelle
    Sadness
    Listening to Strawberry
    The Chine
    Nostalgia
    Earls Court
    Baba Mostafa
    Coma
    The Bowl
    Ghazal: The Servant
    Rubaiyat
    from Interiors

    II

    Needlework
    The Woman in the Wall
    Stone of Patience
    Overblown Roses
    from Plant Care
    River Sonnet
    Come Close
    Blue Moon
    Boy in a Photograph
    The Piano
    from The Inwardness of Elephants
    Soapstone Creek
    Soapstone Retreat
    The Robin and the Eggcup
    Motherhood
    Apology
    Sundays
    Tintinnabuli
    Ghazal: The Children

    III

    from Entries on Light
    Sunday. I woke from a raucous night
    Today’s grey light
    Scales are evenly weighed
    The heavier, fuller, breast and body grow
    I hear myself in the loudness of overbearing waves
    Speak to me as shadows do
    It’s all very well
    Light’s taking a bath tonight
    With finest needles
    Dawn paves its own way
    Everywhere you see her
    Don’t draw back
    Light comes between us and our grief:
    One sky is a canvas for jets and vapour trails
    Black fruit is sweet, white is sweeter.
    And had we ever lived in my country
    I loved you so much
    This book is a seagull whose wings you hold
    : that sky and light and colour
    An Iranian professor I know asked me
    All yellow has gone from the day.
    It’s the eye of longing that I tire of
    It is said God created a peacock of light
    Why does the aspen tremble
    And suppose I left behind
    Finally, in a cove

    IV

    Vine Leaves
    The Love Barn
    Ghazal after Hafez
    Ghazal: To Hold Me
    Ghazal: Lilies of the Valley
    Ghazal: It’s Heartache
    Ghazal: Of Ghazals
    Love in an English August
    Ghazal: Who’d Argue?
    Just to Say
    Song
    Don’t Ask Me, Love, for that First Love
    On Lines from Paul Gauguin
    Ghazal: The Candles of the Chestnut Trees
    The Mediterranean of the Mind
    The Middle Tone
    On a Line from Forough Farrokhzad
    Scorpion-grass
    The Meanest Flower

    New and Uncollected Poems

    Iowa Daybook
    The Streets of La Roue
    Afterword
    Night Sounds
    River Sounding
    Cretan Cures
    The Poet’s House

    Notes
    Mimi Khalvati was born in Tehran, Iran, and has lived most of her life in London. She has published eight collections with Carcanet Press, including The Meanest Flower, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize 2007, Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011, a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, and The ... read more
    Awards won by Mimi Khalvati Winner, 2019 Poetry Book Society Winter Wild Card (Afterwardness) Winner, 2014 Poetry Book Society Recommendation (The Weather Wheel) Winner, 2011 Poetry Book Society Special Commendation (Child) Short-listed, 2007 The T.S. Eliot Prize (The Meanest Flower)
    Praise for Mimi Khalvati 'I found these sonnets to be exquisite and remarkable, not only for Mimi Khalvati's formal virtuosity but also for her bold and brilliant charting of new ground, in exploring the energies of absence, silence and unknowing. The poet's ear in these poems is attuned not to obvious noise but to night sounds, faint traces, on those whose lives lack narrative or 'underscript'. These poems are playful, moving and brimming with a fierce intelligence., and in this collection, her ninth, Mimi Khalvati is writing at the very height of her lyric power.'
    Hannah Lowe
    'Poems of extraordinary rigour and sensitivity. I know of no other contemporary poet who combines, so consistently and so deftly, the formal requirements of metre and rhyme, with the poets' demand for truth-to-experience expressed in natural, unaffected speech.'
    Maitreyabandhu
    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.
    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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