4 out of 5 stars

Blending different cultures doesn’t always work it all begins to feel a little bland. Sometimes you need that juxtaposition between different origins, things don’t sit nicely together, that conflict between outlooks is often the most fruitful for ideas. So it is with this collection from Zaffar Kunial. He can draw on influences from Kashmir, where his father was born, and the Midlands where his mother is from as well as a subtle nuance that his wider family from Orkney have given him.

In this tilted
Storm-knocked world

This drop of earth
That holds the lift

It means that the poems traverse place effortlessly. One moment we join him on the sub-continent standing outside his father’s house, another moment next to a grave. The pace and length of the poems change for each one, adding interest and acting as a prism to his varied family backgrounds. I liked this a lot and I can really say why other than the multicultural elements work together well with his prose. I was fortunate to win this along with the others shortlisted for the Costa Poetry prize and I must say that the book itself is a thing of beauty, such simple layout for all the Faber poetry books with a cover that is so tactile.

Three Favourite poems

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