In Nemidoonam, Nasim Rebecca Asl explores the intricacies of language, identity and belonging. Her poems take us on a journey through childhood into young adulthood while weaving between a range of worlds, both in the UK and abroad. Her work flickers between natural and imagined landscapes. Readers will travel between North East England and Iran, go clubbing in Newcastle and spend time in dreams and the Caspian Sea. They’ll play childhood games, date, and consider the translation of language, the ownership of the body and what it means to belong.
‘Nasim Rebecca Asl’s debut is nothing short of dazzling. This is a cut jewel of a book that explores “such different words for love” and themes of family, home, longing, language and relationships. Formally innovative, Nemidoonam’s poems take the shape of butterflies in flight, multiple choice Mad Libs, diary entries and reimagined myths. These poems unfold like a “runway of stars”, glittering with extraordinary lyricism, musicality and lush imagery that will leave you breathless. This is a pamphlet to treasure.’
– Cynthia Miller
‘Nemidoonam is a haunting collection filled with longing, language, love – and defiance. It is an astonishing and accomplished debut from a tender and searching poet. Nasim’s poems are brave and insightful, delivered with the most skilled and powerful mastery of form, marking her as a Queen of mixed Northern poetics, of poems where ‘Mam’ and ‘Chai’ belong in the same sentence, because they live in the same heart. I love the way Nasim’s poetry asks questions, while also providing answers in each poem’s existence: for by telling the stories of Nemidoonam, she is too telling the story of herself, and that is a very powerful thing.’
– Nadine Aisha Jassat
‘Nasim is such a special poet, and this pamphlet is a beautiful, tender and defiant collection of deeply crafted poetry, to be treasured and held close.’
– Hannah Lavery
‘Nasim Rebecca Asl’s poetry tenderly pulls at the seams of what is and isn’t known, and what lives in the space between these realities. In her debut pamphlet, Nemidoonam, Asl attends to questions of embodiment, of family, of language, of heritage – of form. Lines ‘rise like herons,’ invigorating and expansive, before they are pulled back in shapes that echo the ebb and flow of tides. These oscillations are paired with stricter forms, like the remarkable ghazal, ‘A resurrection in north-west Iran’, where “Mamanbozorg splits threads in the Caspian sun” again and again. Aberdeen crosses with the Caspian Sea, acts of translation fuse with the music of repetition, and history and memory, their lessons and imprecisions, twine together like tendrils that ‘seek new earth.’ With beautiful control and lyricism, Asl gifts us a narrative that coalesces place and experience, that crescendos in our mouths like saffron, rose, and thyme.’
– Alycia Pirmohamed
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nasim Rebecca Asl is a Glasgow-based poet and journalist from Tyne and Wear. Her poetry has appeared in magazines including Poetry Wales, Gutter and Modern Poetry in Translation. In 2021 she was awarded a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award for Poetry, and in 2022 was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. She’s worked on projects with the Poetry Translation Centre, The Poetry Business and the Rugby League World Cup.