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Mimi Khalvati Biography

(1944– ), In White Ink, Mirrorwork

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Patrick Kavanagh Biography to Knocknarea Sligo

British poet of Iranian origin, born in Tehran; she moved to Europe at an early age and was educated on the Isle of Wight, at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and the Drama Centre in London. Khalvati worked in the theatre in Iran before the revolution. The poems in her first collection, In White Ink (1991), are distinguished by their technical sophistication and subtle but vivid imagery; prevalent motifs are exile and expatriation, childhood and family, and passionate tributes to her native culture and its poets. The collection is dominated by the magnificent long poem ‘Plant Care’, which combines a feminist sensibility with a tragic universal symbolism which is at once secular and syncretic. Khalvati's second collection, Mirrorwork (1993), is dominated by three long poems; their sustained perspective and narrative persona is that of a woman, alone in London, battling with memories of a past elsewhere. Contemplative and restrained, the poems proffer a new politics of peace in coming to terms with oneself and with the world. The shorter poems with which these are interspersed are often allusive and playful.

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