122  Pages, Paperback

ISBN: 969-516-083-2

Price: Rs.295

Price: $ 10.00 





Hima Raza


Hima Raza has experimented with language and rhythm, to build up a series of disciplined poems with a sparse and powerful imagery which endows every word its own unique space, and its own resonance.

Muneeza Shamsie  , Dawn


Hima Raza’s collection of poems certainly represents an original voice in the literature of alienation and nostalgia. The subjects vary from the impact of colonialism to issues of gender and race but Raza is not out to make blatant political statements. In some poems there is a certain playfulness in the structure…often, these reiterate the themes and the technique does not detract from the haunting images the verses evoke. Judging by her debut collection, Hima Raza is a name we should be hearing more from.

Zohra Yusuf,  The Herald


This is a powerful collection of poetry, which is likely to appeal to an audience of poetry lovers not only in Britain and Pakistan, but elsewhere in the English speaking world. Her poems reflect an age and a generation in which she has grown up, which is both cross-cultural and international.

Victoria Schofield ,The Nation, London


Memory Stains adds to the growing list of writers whose eyes and ears are open to hitherto unheard voices from the past. History as narrative is a fundamental concept in Raza’s poetry. Dulled rather than obliterated, the stain remains – the memory, the echo, the aroma which betrays the presence of its origin. The appearance of her poetry forces the reader to consider the rupture between optical vision and representation.

Nisha Jones , The SOAS Literary Review,  



Left-hand-speak moves in menacing tones,
like the sound of a distant waterfall calling you
towards love, death, a promise of the mango season,
moving in ripe and humid hues towards an impossible beauty.

Left-hand ways don't have to make sense, you see.

Sam Cooke sang about change
but he didn't say it would be better.
Perhaps hope turns the wrong way round,
perhaps forward means backward….
Now Sam's long gone and I'm left staring at CNN,
broadcast in dizzy languages around the world…
(English still beats Arabic hands down)
talking about 'lines drawn in the sand',
about noble causes like 'infinite justice, enduring freedom…
the American way' -
of negotiating oil pipelines and agency;
the barter of broken nations at a throwaway price.

It takes so little to hate.

The real story is here:
In my ancestors' eyes,
who forgot respect and responsibility
for a place called the Commonwealth,
telling us it would be ok if we tried hard enough
to be like someone else,
if we learnt how to take high tea
and work our way through a five course meal,
using the appropriate cutlery.
'For your own good', they said -
they lied.

Cartography's been replaced
by a new breed of mapping now;
satellite surveillance penetrates us
from above, below, within….
so much joy in conspiracy
and less it seems, in love.

Left-hand-speak springs to a strange rescue
as the green planet turns blank,
as they bomb a country to bits,
and 'revolution' smells like damp socks
I couldn't be bothered to dry.

This not quite sure,
not quite complete
inversion / subversion
in the will to move mountains
suddenly lost in the foothills -
in the words you use
to make me feel bad about myself:
fundamentally fundamentalist,
I remain in process,
with a story to tell,
a shadow to chase,
a ghost to carry.

The Pretence of Cool

imperial designs (plus)
colonial practice (equals)
a new 'civilizing mission'
(encased in) sanctimonious shades
of red, white and blue,
converting 'rogue' nations
to 'frontline states' -
we live the power games
of faraway masters.

in a black hole
where blood is cheap
and lies come true,
virtue is a pie in the sky.

it's a good thing I'm used to this;
the process of shutting things out
as they fall apart,
the pretence of cool
in a dry, hot season,
the taste of redemption
in a t.v. screen

if God had a voice

what would it say?



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