Winner of the James Berry Poetry Prize
Marjorie Lotfi’s award-winning debut collection is a book of two halves, each a meditation on the idea of home, both the places we start and end up in our lives. Spanning a childhood in Iran dislocated by revolution, through years as a young woman in America, to her current home in Scotland, these poems ask what it means to come from somewhere else, what we carry with us when we leave, and how we land in a new place and finally come to rest.
‘The Wrong Person to Ask by Marjorie Lotfi is a wondrous treasure – elegant poems of great tenderness and detail, vivid in heart and imagery, mesmerising in power. Whole worlds and people shimmer alive through scenes and stories of exile, departure, arrival, but most importantly, clear witness and remembrance. A deeply honouring book fully built of love.’ – Naomi Shihab Nye
‘In this unforgettable and assured debut collection, Lotfi explores issues of belonging and identity – firstly the lost world of an Iranian childhood through the eyes of a young refugee and ultimately the found worlds of America and Scotland. She brilliantly illustrates the little tragedies of global politics by focussing on the luminous, ordinary rituals of daily life. These are poems built both to haunt and reaffirm us; poems of the living, breathing world and our overarching right to find a home in it.’ – John Glenday.
Marjorie Lotfi on Rattlecast #74
Marjorie Lotfi introduces her work and reads from her pamphlet Refuge in this Rattlecast edition livestreamed on 5 January 2021. She was interviewed from her home in Edinburgh by Timothy Green from San Bernadino, California. Her section runs from 3:55 to 1:04:52.
James Berry Poetry Prize reading
The three winners of the inaugural James Berry Poetry Prize were announced at an NCLA online event on 28 October 2021: Kaycee Hill, Marjorie Lotfi and Yvette Siegert. Hosted by two of the judges, Jacob Sam-La Rose and Theresa Muñoz, the event also featured four other shortlisted poets. The three winners each received year-long mentoring during 2021-22 plus £1000 and publication of their first book-length collections by Bloodaxe in 2023. They read in turn from 30:04.
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