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Piecemeal by Ahana Banerji

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In Piecemeal, Ahana Banerji inhabits the soft and the small: wrists, fists, and window frost, mustard seed and salmon scale. Her poetry lives inside the minute pressures of everyday life, inside the shudders and bruises of the human body. In paying careful attention to parts of the whole, Banerji’s smallest gestures become suddenly enormous. These are poems about fear and family, about love and language and hunger.


Banerji moves through a variety of forms—villanelle, prose poem, ‘bedtime story’—with a quiet rhythmic confidence. And from within the glistening structures of the poems, we glimpse strange characters and conversations. There are mothers and daughters, gods and lobsters, Federico García Lorca and Joan Didion.


At the heart of Piecemeal, though, is the speaker’s promise to herself:


‘I, too, will be

good. Good

as the jugular’s perfect hyacinth’.


It is an intensely vivid and hopeful promise from a powerful new voice in poetry.

Nine Pens

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