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The Meanest Flower

Mimi Khalvati

The Meanest Flower by Mimi Khalvati
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857548 68 6
Categories: 21st Century, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2007
216 x 135 x 10 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
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  • As if they were family, flowers surround you.
    As if they were a story-book, they speak.
    They speak through eyes and strange configurations
    on their faces, markings on petals, whiskers...
        
                                    from 'The Meanest Flower'
    Wordsworth's 'meanest flower that blows' suggested to him 'thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears'. The lyrics, elegies, songs and ghazals in Mimi Khalvati's new book pay attention to things the imagination generally disregards, an attention that is concentrated, intense and unapologetically Romantic. Hers is the true voice of feeling, undeflected by irony or self-deprecation. There is rapture in these poems as well as a tragic sense: nature, childhood, motherhood and family relationships all have a double valency, a give and take, to which Khalvati witnesses with a feeling sharpened by love and grief.

    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
    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
    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
     
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