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Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s debut poetry collection re: desire explores the yearning to love, be loved and belong from a desi (South Asian) perspective. Her work sits on the intersections of flash fiction, poetry and script, echoing the hybridity of the worlds that many young British desis find themselves occupying. Drawing on the poetry of many different languages and cultures – Urdu, English, Konkani, Islamic and Christian – this collection explores how we access our traditions from a distance.
re: desire is a collection of poetry that draws upon literary traditions and cultural references to flip the male gaze common in mushairas on its head. Common themes for mushairas are love, God and being drunk or intoxicated by love and God – but is usually seen from a male perspective. The pieces in re:desireare mainly told from a female perspective, and question the gender given to particular acts, objects and ideas.
QUOTES about the collection:
The language of poetry has many voices. Afshan’s is melodic, powerful, mixing English with her mother tongue in a harmony of verses. – Dr SuAndi, OBE
A beautiful and poignant collection that speaks to the internal lives of British people of colour.– Nikesh Shukla (author of The Good Immigrantand The One Who Wrote Destiny)
Her words are fit, innit– Guleraana Mir (playwright)
When times are hard, I turn to poetry: for truth, nourishment and daring ideas that keep me on my toes. It’s all here in Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s sparkling debut collection.
Rich, delicious poems where mothers and daughters find themselves separated as well as connected by language, where love dances teasingly in and out of reach, and where Snow White gets razor burn.Poetry that is powerful and sharp but never bitter, encouraging us to remember that “even anonymous words / can change the world. – Rosie Garland (author of The Night Brother)
In re: desire, Afshan D’souza-Lodhi soars, swoops and dazzles. In this elegantly wrought collection, she upends expectations, shatters stereotypes and breaks a few taboos–but always with a wry smile. – Adam Lowe (publisher, editor, poet)
Afshan is without a doubt the poets voice I have been waiting for, her poems take you on a journey questioning all those places we have been and are going to; her work is witty , beautiful and poignant showing us language has no boundaries.– Shobna Gulati (writer and actress)
This is an evocative collection of painful and beautiful multilingual poems in which silences are broken, sexuality is uncertain, and love is a bloody mess. – Dean Atta (author of The Black Flamingo)
Whether meditations on her mother(s) tongue or tongue-in-cheek poems on relationships, Afshan D’souza-Lodhi knows how to play with words to move, amuse, surprise and shock the reader. South Asian traditions are simultaneously celebrated and questioned as they collide with Britishness, love is smoked and evoked in all its earthy, unsexy wet patches. But these poems also pull no punches, tackling topics from abuse and racism to sexuality and parent-child relationships. This is a poet to watch – and to listen to.– Sharmilla Beezmohun (Speaking Volumes)
Afshan’s poetry quickly evokes a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; like anger, anguish, joy and humour. Her pieces take you on a spiritual journey and makes you question the very nature of life itself– Mike Omoniyi (CEO of The Common Sense Network)