Following on from her Forward prize-winning collection, Small Hands, Mona Arshi’s new book continues its lyrical and exact exploration of the aftershocks of grief. These extraordinary poems, which see Arshi continuing with her experiments with form, relocate experience in past, present and future feeling, in both the intimacies of ordinariness and the collective experience of myth. Moving and discomfiting in their acute emotional awareness of individual pain these poems tune in to the cruelty and unsettling violence of our contemporary world. Nevertheless, at the centre of this book is an overarching commitment to hope, in whatever form it takes, ‘hunkering down’ with its tiny creatures and its ‘churning, broken song’.
Strength, delicacy and acuity converge in Mona Arshi's new poems, whether she is observing a garden, blooming or blighted, mourning a brother, speaking in the conflicted voice of a heroine of the Mahabharata. A poet to reread in all her complexity.