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I Speak for the Devil: Poems 1976-2000

I Speak for the Devil: Poems 1976-2000

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Imtiaz Dharker's cultural experience spans three countries. Born in Pakistan, she grew up in Glasgow, and now divides her time between Bombay and London. It is from this life of transitions that she draws her themes: childhood, exile, journeying, home and religious strife.

In her latest book, the woman's body is a territory, a thing that is possessed, owned by herself or by another. Her sequence 'They'll say, 'She must be from another country'' traces a journey, starting with a striptease where the claims of nationality, religion and gender are cast off, to allow an exploration of new territories, the spaces between countries, cultures and religions.

The title-sequence speaks for the devil in acknowledging that in many societies women are respected, or listened to, only when they are carrying someone else inside their bodies ñ a child; a devil. For some, to be "possessed" is to be set free.

"Hers is a strong, concerned, economical poetry, in which political activity, homesickness, urban violence, religious anomalies, are raised in an unobtrusive domestic setting, all the more effectively for their coolness of treatment."
Alan Ross, The London Magazine

"Beautiful ambivalenceÖ realistic details take on a surrealistic menace in another contextÖ These poems deal very powerfully with social, religious, racial and above all sexual entrapment."
Christopher Levenson, Toronto South Asian Review

"Here is no glib internationalism or modish multiculturalismÖ Displacement here no longer spells exile; it means an exhilarating sense of life at the interstices. There is an exultant celebration of a self that strips off layers of superfluous identity with grace and abandon, only to discover that it has not diminished, but grown larger, generous, more inclusive."
Arundhathi Subramaniam, Poetry International