Taking inspiration from sources including historical and medical texts, curator’s notes and the Complete Kama Sutra, Shazea Quraishi’s poems explore love and loss through a range of voices: an Iraqi mother holds her fragile son; under the guise of ardour, a courtesan searches a client for signs of the woman she loves; a wife is unsettled by her husband’s new family…
The Art of Scratching is her first book-length collection, and includes The Courtesans Reply, a sequence written in response to the Caturbhani, four plays written around 300 BC on the life of courtesans in India.
‘Shazea Quraishi’s first collection, The Art of Scratching, reveals the poet’s flair for re-imagining and feminising historical texts, and for inventing her own edgy fables of family life and childhood.’ - Carol Rumens, online Poem of the Week, Guardian
‘There is an intriguing collision between the archaeological and the lyrical in Shazea Quraishi’s series of poems, The Courtesans Reply… The props and rituals bestow on these poems an exotic otherness but the emotions they explore are timeless.’ – Stephen Knight, Ten
‘Shazea Quraishi is one of a number of younger black and Asian women poets currently gaining ground in UK poetry. In sensual, clear, perfectly measured tones, her poems meet the male gaze with a female voice.’ – Katy Evans-Bush, Poetry International Web