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The Emma Press


Europe, Love Me Back

Europe, Love Me Back


Europe, Love Me Back is a collection of poems by Rakhshan Rizwan. Cover and interior illustrations by Reena Makwana.

‘But no one was interested in eliciting my testimony;
after all I wasn’t dead – I wasn’t ill – and hadn’t this
country treated me so well?


For it is not a human right to be much more than Agamben’s bare life,
to exist in the hallowed halls of the academe,
because there comes a point when our wanting
is simply too much, obscene –’

Page count: 77

Publication date: 06 Oct 2022

Paperback ISBN: 9781912915149

GTIN: 9781912915149 SKU: 9781912915149-1 Categories: , Tag:

Rakhshan Rizwan

Rakhshan Rizwan works as an Acquisitions Editor. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature from Utrecht University. Her poetry pamphlet, Paisley (The Emma Press, 2017) was shortlisted for the Saboteur Award and the Michael Marks Poetry Prize. Her collection of children’s poetry, My Sneezes are Perfect (The Emma Press, 2021) documents the difficulties of moving countries, and living through a pandemic from the perspective of a young child. Her book Kashmiri Life Narratives: Human Rights, Pleasure, and the Local Cosmopolitan (Routledge, 2020) looks at how Kashmiri authors use innovative languages of happiness to do human rights advocacy. Her writing has appeared in Aaduna, Nimrod, Postcolonial Text and Blue Lyra Review, among others. She is on the editorial team of the children’s poetry journal Tyger Tyger Magazine. She is from Lahore, Pakistan, has lived in Germany and the Netherlands, and currently lives in the Bay Area of North California, US.


Europe, Love Me Back is a collection of relentlessly questing, sharply satirical poems about the continent, and the poet’s fraught relationship with it. Hurting yet clear-eyed, Rizwan explores and exposes what it means to be a small brown woman in Dutch suburbs, hospitals and academia

This is an angry love letter, to a place left behind yet always there, continuing to matter and hurt and shape the poet’s identity.

Praise for Paisley

‘Rakhshan Rizwan impresses with an alert and peripatetic poetic consciousness.’ Sabotage Reviews

‘There is fierce energy here, and uncompromising intensity.’ Sphinx

‘A striking debut collection which evokes the rich culture and history of Rizwan’s native Lahore. Themes of belonging, migration and displacement abound, as Rizwan examines the split linguistic self of the migrant: “My voice is the mirror that breaks in Urdu”. The patterns of her homeland are ever-present: “in a new country, let us dream of different paisleys”. Combining free verse and complex ghazals, this is a powerful exploration of the role of women in Pakistan and beyond.’ – PBS Bulletin

Praise for Europe Love Me Back

Europe, Love Me Back is a salty love letter, not entirely unrequited, but from a lover who didn’t feel seen. From a lover who felt they made all the right connections, sent the right signals, searched for commonalities, links, threads but attempted to hook-up with someone who only saw differences, reasons not to continue the affair.’ Emma Lee

 ‘We won’t mince our words of admiration when we say it is the best poetry compilation we have seen in 2022 yet.’ – Ravi Magazine

‘Rakhshan Rizwan’s Europe, Love Me Back is a raw, passionate and impassioned poetry collection […] Using cultural settings, personal experiences and whimsical yet sharp language, [Rakhshan] exposes the feelings of being politely received but not fully welcomed.’ – Balraj Sohal for Desiblitz

‘This is a thoughtful, thought provoking collection of controlled emotion expressed through deceptively flat surfaces.’ – Billy Mills for Elliptical Movements

‘This debut collection has Rizwan juxtaposing East and West, calling out European countries for the prejudice she has experienced as a Muslim Pakistani in academia.’ – Rebecca Foster

‘What this collection does superbly is make you feel what it is like to be judged, questioned and not accepted because of the way you look or how you speak […] It is a collection that makes you aware of the day-to-day loss of dignity and humanity that Europe aims at immigrants from the petty to the large. It is a constant assault on self.’ – Tony Cross for Dreamcage

‘Rizwan is capable of mixing powerful imagery and beautiful phrases with the more mundane. She flits between these and, in so doing, makes the poetry relatable… From celebrating skin as being the “same/as yours” to questioning why we feel it best to “rest a safe distance from each other”, this collection is confident and profoundly moving.’ – London Grip

‘The poet probes ideas of systemic racism in academia and unbelonging with an unerringly sharp eye for language and imagery. Imbued with irony and raw feeling, Rizwan’s voice lingers long after the last lines.’ – Wasafiri Magazine

Additional information

Dimensions 19.8 × .5 × 12.9 cm

Paperback, eBook

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