This book-length poem is set at the time of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 when thousands of people were killed in civil unrest and millions displaced, with families later split between the two countries. Inspired by family history, Moniza Alvi weaves a deeply personal story of fortitude and courage, as well as of tragic loss, in this powerful work in 20 partsThis book-length poem is set at the time of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 when thousands of people were killed in civil unrest and millions displaced, with families later split between the two countries. Inspired by family history, Moniza Alvi weaves a deeply personal story of fortitude and courage, as well as of tragic loss, in this powerful work in 20 parts.At the Time of Partition is Moniza Alvi's first new poetry book since her T.S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted collection Europa, published in 2008 at the same time as Split World: Poems 1990-2005. 'Alvi...takes a historical journey as the structure for this narrative poem. The year is 1947 – the year of Partition – and a family is forced to leave their home in Ludhiana for Lahore... Alvi captures the trauma of a nation in this slim, exquisitely mournful story of departure, migration and the uncertain feelings of settling in a new country...' - Arifa Akbar, Independent'The volume consists of 20 poems which flow into each other to create a single haunting and lyrical narrative, welding the personal and the public. The result is a stunning, skilled and controlled work of immense grandeur...At the Time of Partition is a truly extraordinary collection, a work which succeeds in being spare, compelling and timeless. Furthermore, for the subcontinental reader, it captures a moment of time, a memory, so visceral that it has an extraordinary power. This book should not be missed.' - Moneeza Shamsie, Dawn (Pakistan)'One of the few British poets whose work could currently be described as essential reading, not least as we try to grasp what fractures of cultural difference might have contributed to the 7 July bombings.' - Tim Robertson, Magma.T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry - Shortlist 2013...
|Title||:||At the Time of Partition|
|Number of Pages||:||63 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
At the Time of Partition Reviews
Poetry making art of unspeakable history!Moniza Alvi's voice penetrates deep layers underneath the official statistics of the event that separated Pakistan and India into two different states and set whole populations on the move in two directions, leaving everything behind to settle where the majority of their fellow believers happened to live. The tragedy of that time is described in vivid colours, from multiple angles, but focusing on the sorrow of losing one part of your heart to reconcile another one. A novel-like poem in twenty parts, it sings a silent song of the line drawn by a British administrator: "He did it as fast as he was able, in the time it takes to sort out a school timetable". The consequences are more far-reaching than a school timetable, however:"It lies helplessly, wrong side uplike a turtle showing its underside - the family story. Is it there for the taking?"There is no heroism in the journey, just worry, suffering, unknown dangers, uncomfortable travel reality:"So they took the buswhich wasn't in any respecta magic carpet-though colours swirledbeneath the dirt on its sides.It groaned and rattledand smelled of pressed-in bodiesand garum masala and incense.Did it smell more strongly of the future or the past?Would there ever be another dayas bland as chapatti?Would a day ever sing?"Arriving is almost surreal as well. Assigned a house of a family who has gone on the journey in the other direction, the fictional family in the poem can compare and contrast what they left behind and what they found on arrival, and they can't help thinking of the people who might evaluate their own old home on the other side of the line, arriving just like they themselves, uprooted, disillusioned, full of memories:"Don't look back - That's what people said.But these very words could prompt her to turn aroundsharply,to try to glimpsewhat was happening all those miles behind her,and to say another goodbye."The ancient story of Orpheus and Eurydice comes to mind, you turn around, look back, look at the past and know it is lost, but still there to be mourned forever. In the end, the crossing of the border is only possible through literature, poetry, artistic reflection, and the long poem-story closes with a strong case for the transcending power of words:Crossing BackThe line between birth and non-being.the line between what happened and the imagining.A line so delicate a sparrow might havepicked it up in its beak.A line of writing.A line so definite - And so blurred.Time to return the unending story to itself.Time to return everyone to themselves.Time to cross swiftly backover the line."This is one of the most beautiful poems I have ever read on the private and personal experience of loss during the partition. The pain of WHAT IF is dramatically present all the time. If we had chosen differently, would he still be with us? Guilt and memory are crucial parts of the poem. Feeling guilty at a situation you can't control. Not wanting to remember what is painful but makes out all your past. Identity issues that remain unsolved the way the thin line of the border remains disputed.Brilliant! A truly astonishing voice in contemporary poetry!
Very moving and poignant. I think it does well in capturing the essence of what it must be like to be going through Partition. The narrative of loss, dread, and hope allows one to transport themselves to those times. A very heartfelt effort by the author indeed.
Incredibly poignant. Beautiful. Heartbreaking.
An excellent little book that very neatly sums up the personal impact and experience of partition through the eyes and heart of a mother. Beautifully written and very moving.
Reviewed by The Independent (23 Nov 2013)