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New and Selected Poems 1991-2011
RRP: GBP 12.95
ISBN: 978 1 847779 15 1
Categories: 21st Century, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 2011
180 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle), eBook (PDF)
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.'
The Alder Leaf
Listening to Strawberry
Ghazal: The Servant
The Woman in the Wall
Stone of Patience
from Plant Care
Boy in a Photograph
from The Inwardness of Elephants
The Robin and the Eggcup
Ghazal: The Children
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
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
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
The Meanest Flower
New and Uncollected Poems
The Streets of La Roue
The Poet’s House
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 'What I find remarkable is how little ego there is in this exploration, how sensitively and empathetically Khalvati looks out to the experience of other people, mixing hers with theirs so that the two often become indistinguishable'
Edmund Prestwich, The North
'This collection has so many layers and cross-currents. There are rich memories hiding here'
D A Powell, Under the Radar
'Poetry of the highest order'
John Wheway, The High Window
'Khalvati's method is never formulaic and is always open to experience.'
W S Milne, Agenda
'What is particularly striking throughout the collection is how the poems are able to move through time in relation to one's age, life or nationality.''In so many of these poems, the images frame and enunciate the character of an exiles life with tremendous resonance. The recurrent, deeply traditional formal design of the Petrarchan sonnet grounds the collection and provides a containing experience of consistency and reliability that contrasts with all the disorientation, the displacement, the endless efforts to make a new home that never quite yield a secure sense of belonging....This is a collection in which I have been grateful to immerse myself.'
Anthony Anaxagorou, PBS Winter Selection 2019
John Wheway, The High Window
'This book feels a little like an act of self-haunting ... like tender postcards from afar, addressed to the poet herself'
Michael Glover, The Tablet
'Colour combines with contemplation [...] The symmetry is elegant, and the collection is a sophisticated, original exploration of a self made in and by the new language'
Fiona Sampson, The Guardian
'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.'
'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.'
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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