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In the Name of Red by Z. R. Ghani

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From lips and warmed cheeks to silk and falling leaves, the subjects of Z.R. Ghani’s poems radiate with redness. Sometimes a cloak, often a shining symbol, Ghani’s reds are sacred and dazzling: pomegranates ripening to jewels and perfectly-placed bindis shining like suns.

 

But something darker lurks beneath the ruby depths. A city is held hostage by a heatwave, a flame is lit in a dark room, a ballerina twists inside a jewellery box.

As though developing photographs, Ghani shines a deep light over her poems as a tool to slowly make the unseen visible, the unsaid audible. This is a debut book rich with desire, shame, grief, faith, love, and at the forefront of it all: the colour red.

I remember in my mouth the taste of the river.
The rocks in my pockets felt familiar.
They were souvenirs from my father,
the lonesome traveller,
who chewed the fish’s eyes
and gave me its opalescent flesh.

From ‘Taste of the River’

Cover & illustrations by Louise Weir.

 

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