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Bad Diaspora Poems by Momtaza Mehri

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The much-awaited debut collection from a remarkable poetic voice.

Diaspora is witnessing a murder without getting blood on your shirt.

A once in a generation poet' Caleb Femi, author of Poor

'An incredible poet, thinker, seer' Rachel Long, author of My Darling from the Lions

'Groundbreaking' Pascale Petit, author of Mama Amazonica

The definition of diaspora is the dispersion of people from their original homeland. But what does it mean to write diaspora poetry? Momtaza Mehri's exhilarating debut collection poses this question, spanning the waves of movement to and from Somalia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, taking us from Mogadishu to Naples, Lampedusa to London.

We arrive at the present day, where these inherited histories and silences have endured across generations. Mixing Mehri's own family's experience with the history and stories of many others, Bad Diaspora Poems confronts the ambivalent nature of speaking for those who have been left behind. We meet the poet, the immigrant, the exile, the refugee, the runaway, the working-class artist, the translator, and the diaspora kid attempting to transcend their cliched angst.

Inhabiting the form of lyric, prose, erasures and text messages and taking place in living rooms and marketplaces, on buses and balconies, on transatlantic journeys and online, these are essential poems about our diasporic age.

Jonathan Cape



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