Pilgrim Bell is the anticipated second collection of poems from Forward Prize nominated Kaveh Akbar, a widely published contemporary voice in poetry. Akbar’s craft is measured and precise, but his confidence shows most in the intellectual space left around the form of aphorisms: ‘Whatever you aren’t, which is what makes you’. Much is being mused in this work which speaks to lived experiences of the poet’s immigrant identity, born in Iran, raised as a Muslim in an intolerant America, and his personal pursuit of sobriety. Each aspect alone could provide sufficient depth to delve into, but are instead wrapped together in a quest for religious reverie.
Somali-British poet, Warsan Shire draws us into the complexities of the transition from girl to woman, immigrant to citizen, in this, her much awaited and first full collection. With an array of accolades which include her much circulated and highly influential poem ‘Home’, and her work with Beyoncè Knowles-Carter on the Album Lemonade, this much awaited collection is written with sensitivity and without pretence.