To prefix the title of your debut Forward Prize nominated poetry collection ‘Bad’ may seem, at first, to be a brave choice. But Bad Diaspora Poems is clearly a title that encourages you to think about nuance – something which feels all the more important in a week in which Suella Braverman is having her ‘rivers of blood’ moment at the Tory party conference. ‘Diaspora’ – online definition ‘the dispersion or spread of a people from their original homeland’ – is a loaded term, so it is no wonder Momtaza Mehri wants us to think about the value judgements we might attach to it, just as she questions the ability of poetry to respond to such a topic. What does it mean to write ‘diaspora poetry’?
There are cracks running visibly through the poems in Cain Named the Animal. From reading reviews of American poet Shane McCrae’s earlier collections, National Book Award Finalist In the Language of My Captor and T S Eliot prize shortlisted Sometimes I Never Suffered, cracks persist throughout them too as well as no punctuation with space instead serving as a kind of punc- tuation coupled with stumbling repetitions stumbling and the odd / line break depicted odd as you would write it in an essay or review. it is an arresting device and one that initially to me, initially was a distraction seeming to get i n the way of me hearing the poems in my head.
The degree of abuse suffered is not always obvious to the observer but only known by the victim who is reluctant to share it with others. (Please feel free to handle the pieces) Ralph Mavin —- A man gets up one morning and he leaves his Read More
How far would you go to belong? So runs the tagline to Emily Fridlund’s Booker shortlisted debut novel History of Wolves. It is suggestive of the latest pseudo-psychological thriller, but this does the book a disservice, belying a much subtler, somber work. The book is about a quiet desperation: yes, to belong; but also to Read More
(This is a lightly edited transcript of the interview; to view the whole interview, please click image above) Stephen Carruthers: Good Afternoon. I’m Stephen Carruthers from the Dundee University Review of the Arts and I’m here with Joe Douglas, the Associate Artistic Director of Dundee Rep Theatre. Joe Douglas: Hello. SC: Joe, you joined the Read More
It is a striking image – that of Jan Van Brock’s engraving “Woman in hunting dress” – which adorns the cover of Belfast-born poet Adam Crothers’ debut collection. Behind the elegant, shotgun-carrying woman, a pair of deer sits placidly on a moonlit night. Only on looking closer do you notice the folds etched into the Read More
“So Don, why do you love poetry?” It takes only three words of Don Paterson’s reply to what I naively think will be a nice, easy first question for me to understand that this is not going to be an hour of nice, easy assumptions. “Oh I don’t” he replies immediately “that would be a Read More
Since his six years as Rector during the 1990s, Stephen Fry has had many kind things to say about Dundee University. Given that the University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1995 and named its student association bar after his novel The Liar, the feeling is clearly mutual. It is no surprise then that the Read More
Queen of Katwe, directed by Mira Nair of Monsoon Wedding fame, tells the real-life story of chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi. Growing up in the Katwe slums of Uganda, she meets chess coach Robert Katende and discovers she has a talent that could offer her a way out of poverty. So far, so rags-to-riches. But this Read More