Writing for me is about discovery, and there has to be some truth for it to be meaningful. ‘Authentic’ is a word we hear a lot – but it’s important with writing, especially poetry.
Shazea Quraishi is a Pakistan-born Canadian poet and translator based in London. An alumni of The Complete Works I, her first pamphlet,The Courtesans Reply, was published by Flipped Eye in 2012 andThe Art of Scratching, her first book-length collection, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2015.Her poems have appeared in UK and US publications including The Financial Time, Poetry Review and most recently The Hudson Review & New England Review.
Brand new and long-awaited poetry from this elegant and meticulous poet.
What has the body of a white mouse to show us?
What is art?
And how can we live with death?
The contemplative and poised poems in this collection tackle the vast questions of life and art. Their simplicity is beguiling, their vocabulary – hypnotic, as tiny details build slowly, calmly, to create a vision as broad as existence itself.
The Taxidermist is Shazea Quraishi’s first published collection of poems since her 2015 debut full collection The Art of Scratching (Bloodaxe Books).
the highest tree in the garden is the first to be lit
Birds come one orange-red bellied another bright-
yellow black-headed black wings tipped with white
and another a pair
Sky blue as the bucket by the tap
air cool an ant crosses her foot
bees in the lavender bush
A bird perches in a leafless tree
dun-coloured long-tailed quiet
watches her watching
preens under its wings
Here the other side of the world grass looks different
earth bleached by sun flowers blaze
air smells how to describe it orange
THE ART OF SCRATCHING
Taking inspiration from sources including historical and medical texts, curator’s notes and the Complete Kama Sutra, Shazea’s first collection explores love and loss through a range of voices: an Iraqi mother holds her fragile son; under the guise of ardour, a courtesan searches a client for signs of the woman she loves; a wife is unsettled by her husband’s new family…
The Art of Scratching includes The Courtesans Reply, a sequence written in response to the Caturbhani, four plays written around 300 BC on the life of courtesans in India.