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Bad Diaspora Poems

Winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection

Momtaza Mehri author


Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:6th Jul '23

Should be back in stock very soon

Bad Diaspora Poems cover

Diaspora is witnessing a murder without getting blood on your shirt.


'Exceptional… Mehri is a truly transnational poet of the twenty-first century'

BERNARDINE EVARISTO, author of Girl, Woman, Other

'A once in a generation poet'
CALEB FEMI, author of Poor

The definition of diaspora is the dispersion of people from their original homeland. But what does it mean to write diaspora poetry? Momtaza Mehri's debut collection poses this question, taking us from Mogadishu to Naples, Lampedusa to London. Mixing her own family's experience with the stories of many others across nineteenth- and twentieth-century Somalia, Bad Diaspora Poems confronts the ambivalent nature of speaking for those who have been left behind.

We meet the poet, the translator, the refugee, the exile, and the diaspora kid attempting to transcend their clichéd angst. Told in lyric, prose and text messages, and taking place in living rooms and marketplaces, on buses and balconies, on transatlantic journeys and online, these are essential poems about our diasporic age.

An exceptional debut collection that reinvigorates ideas around diaspora, migration and home. Wide-ranging and ambitious, her poetry shimmers with erudition and linguistic exquisiteness, while also having an emotional heart. Drawing on global cultures, Mehri is a truly transnational poet of the twenty-first century whose words pulsate out into the world-at-large -- Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, Woman, Other
Mehri’s work is not just politically vital but poetically alive * Sunday Times, *Books of the Year* *
A poet like Momtaza Mehri comes only once in a generation. Mehri is a writer of refined insight, audacious imagination and artful technicality - a genius. Bad Diaspora Poems is a feat, its scope of movement both in time and geography is immense, you are swallowed into its voyage. This is an essential collection in the Black diasporic discourse -- Caleb Femi, author of Poor
Mehri brings unflinching discursive skills to verse that melds criticism, autobiography and essay while still achieving a crisp sonic momentum characteristic of lyric poetry... Mehri is a dazzling voice that refuses to speak from a podium * Guardian *
Rich, playful, often funny * Sunday Times *
Momtaza Mehri's debut collection refuses the presentist and egoist pitfalls of the lyric and avoids the reductive slipstreams and intellectual constraints of identity politics. With her dexterity of tone and breadth of reference, her sense of history and geopolitical scope, Mehri develops a unique new poetic, rich in its connectivity and attentiveness. Bad Diaspora Poems satirical insight and humane outlook are energising, radical and remarkable -- Jack Underwood, author of Happiness
One of the most unique and striking poetry debuts -- Raymond Antrobus, author of The Perseverance
Momtaza Mehri is in the advance party of a daring new turn in global anglophone poetry. Though to say 'new' doesn't do full justice to her innovation; the word implies adherence to tastes or fashion but what we have in Bad Diaspora Poems is something rarer altogether: the poems collected here, being poems with a timeless sense of style, are destined to last even as they speak so incisively to our present moment -- Kayo Chingonyi, author of Kumukanda
Masterful... The poems gathered here take nothing for granted. They revel in the slippages of belonging and identity and strive for something greater, something closer to a revolutionary kind of love -- Victoria Adukwei Bulley, author of Quiet
Momtaza Mehri is a groundbreaking new voice. Raw and sophisticated, Bad Diaspora Poems is a gloriously rich mosaic, offering insights into our planet's increasingly exiled populations, the plight of refugees, and a passionate longing for the homeland -- Pascale Petit, author of Mama Amazonica

ISBN: 9781787334373

Dimensions: 206mm x 145mm x 20mm

Weight: 223g

128 pages