Afterwardness by Mimi Khalvati
PBS Winter Wild Card 2019
Ever since her first Carcanet book, In White Ink (1991), Mimi Khalvati has been drawn to the sonnet form. In Afterwardness its pull became irresistible. She has created in this unprogrammatic series, mixing memory, history, daily life, all her intersecting geographies and cultures, a self-portrait in all her moods, anxieties and delights. The sonnet form is stretched in all sorts of fruitful directions. Just as she adapted the ghazal form to English use, here she puts the Petrarchan sonnet to striking, unfamiliar use, widening the possibilities of the form. The poems are rich with Khalvati's personal history, her Iranian origins, her long years in Great Britain. The poems play between cultures, ancestral and acquired.