Shortlisted for the 2013 T.S. Eliot Prize
Poetry Book Society Choice
This book-length poem is set at the time of the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 when thousands of people were killed in civil unrest and millions displaced, with families later split between the two countries. Inspired by family history, Moniza Alvi weaves a deeply personal story of fortitude and courage, as well as of tragic loss, in this powerful work in 20 parts.
At the Time of Partition is Moniza Alvi's first new poetry book since her T.S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted collection Europa, published in 2008 at the same time as Split World: Poems 1990-2005.
'Alvi...takes a historical journey as the structure for this narrative poem. The year is 1947 – the year of Partition – and a family is forced to leave their home in Ludhiana for Lahore...Alvi captures the trauma of a nation in this slim, exquisitely mournful story of departure, migration and the uncertain feelings of settling in a new country...' - Arifa Akbar, Independent
'The volume consists of 20 poems which flow into each other to create a single haunting and lyrical narrative, welding the personal and the public. The result is a stunning, skilled and controlled work of immense grandeur...At the Time of Partition is a truly extraordinary collection, a work which succeeds in being spare, compelling and timeless. Furthermore, for the subcontinental reader, it captures a moment of time, a memory, so visceral that it has an extraordinary power. This book should not be missed.' - Muneeza Shamsie, Dawn
'One of the few British poets whose work could currently be described as essential reading, not least as we try to grasp what fractures of cultural difference might have contributed to the 7 July bombings.' - Tim Robertson, Magma.