By Qudsia Akhtar



Khamoshi (Silence) is a voice, a conversation, a reading of the female experience that is often kept hidden. The poems are set in backdrops of deserts, paddy fields, and in tradition's pit where femininity is dissected and ravished. '"Can one experience diaspora / in the body?" Qudsia Akhtar's poems are silted with female loss, a kind of silence that builds slowly inside generations of migrant women. Through partition, nationalism, racism, sex and filial duty, these poems ask to whom do we belong if not our selves? A motherland calls to its daughters; an adopted country demands to hear her voice. Akhtar's language is rich and exact, fearing sentiment, turning on its heel towards a path entirely of its own.' - Sandeep Parmer 'Qudsia Akhtar's thrilling debut collection Khamoshi (Silence ) traces the complexity of living as a British-Pakistani writer with great courage, integrity and insight. Akhtar's vision takes in the broader historical perspectives of the trauma of partition and the experiences of racism and sexism while focusing on the embodied tensions of a self that is never fully at ease with itself: 'I hear / my voice call / my self / imposter .' In dialogue with Muhammed Iqbal's philosophical poem The Secrets of the Self , Akhtar asks unflinchingly 'can I be from here if my roots / lie elsewhere?', 'what does the British-Pakistani want? ' 'can Herstory / be rewritten?', creating a precisely articulated poetry full of vivid images and passionate thinking. If Akhtar does not shy away from the challenges she presents ('the chaos of collective identity'), nevertheless this is an enormously optimistic book in which she wears 'the flag / of hope' whilst paying homage to 'all / the voices / in me.' This is an adept and provocative work which firmly establishes Akhtar as an important new voice for her generation.' - Scott Thurston

ISBN: 9781913917067


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