Winner of the 2015 Forward Prize for Best First Collection
Mona Arshi's debut collection, 'Small Hands', introduces a brilliant and compelling new voice. At the centre of the book is the slow detonation of grief after her brother's death but her work focuses on the whole variety of human experience: pleasure, hardship, tradition, energised by language which is in turn both tender and risky. Often startling as well as lyrical, Arshi's poems resist fixity; there is a gentle poignancy at work here which haunt many of the poems. This is humane poetry. Arshi's is a daring, moving and original voice.
Mona Arshi was born to Punjabi Sikh parents in West London where she still lives. She initially trained as a lawyer and worked for Liberty, the UK human rights organisation for several years, undertaking test case litigation under the Human Rights Act. She began writing poetry in 2008 and received a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She won the inaugural Magma Poetry competition in 2011 and was on the Complete Works Program, a scheme funded by the Arts Council. Mona was joint winner of the Manchester Creative writing poetry prize in 2014.
The Lion Entomological Specimens Practicing Your Skills Insomniac What Every Girl Should Know Before Marriage Taster Bad Day in the Office You Are Not My Mother's Hair The Gold Bangles `Jesus Saves' Ticking On Ellington Road Cousin Migrant The Daughters Different Principles of Enclosure Day Ghost This Morning The Bird Almost September Phone Call on a Train Journey Small Hands In the Coroner's Office April 18th of November Notes Towards an Elegy The Urn The Rain That Began Elsewhere Gloves My Father Wants to be a Rooftop Railway Surfer Ghazal Ghazal Ode to a Pomegranate Bulbul Parvarti waits for the return of Shiva, after the slaying of Ganesh Lost Poem Large and Imprecise Baby Wireman Barbule The Found Thing Woman at Window Mr Beeharry's Marriage Bureau Mrs M Unravels Ballad of the Small-Boned Daughter Hummingbird