Poems by Rakhshan Rizwan
With an introduction by Leila Aboulela
Rakhshan Rizwan’s debut collection simmers with a poised, driving anger. Drawing on the rich visual and material culture of her home region, Rizwan unpacks and offers critical comment on the vexed issues of class, linguistic and cultural identity – particularly for women – in the context of Pakistan and South Asia.
She writes about the hypocrisy of the men who claim to worship women, the nuances of using Urdu or Hindi, and the many contradictions of the city of her birth, Lahore. As well as startling free verse, Rizwan’s many accomplished ghazals both explore and demonstrate her fascination with multilingualism, code-switching, displacement and belonging.
The poems in Paisley are an unflinchingly feminist assault on received ideas about womanhood which present the reader with often-uncomfortable truths.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-78-3
Publication date: 28th September 2017
Page count: 36
Price: £6.50 (paperback)
Praise for Paisley
‘For a poet, language comes first. But which language: the old or the new, the mother tongue or the one learnt at school? In Partition, language is learnt while still in the womb. While reading a letter from her mother, the ‘unborn child kicks the quaint figures of speech and sucks the cloying Urdu with its small, webbed hands’.’ Leila Aboulela in her introduction
‘Rakhshan Rizwan exposes the fragmented, fragile heart of Pakistani/South Asian culture in unflinching poems that are alive with the beauty and power of language. I feel as if I’ve been waiting for these poems.’ Moniza Alvi
About the poet
Rakhshan Rizwan was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and then moved to Germany to study Literature and New Media. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University and a Witteveen Memorial Research Fellow at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. In 2015 she won the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize.