San Francisco Public Library

Cutlish, Rajiv Mohabir

Cutlish, Rajiv Mohabir
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Rajiv Mohabir
"Rajiv Mohabir's Cutlish uses history to interrogate the word "home" and all that it might mean to those who thrive in spite of homophobia, stereotype, and xenophobia. These poems are grounded in definite time and space in a voice that refuses to be silenced, "They are vexed you survive; that you/rise up from the pavement..." But what I love most is read a poet as disciplined and committed as Mohabir as he transforms and reinvents himself in tone, in subject, and in line: "Let's get one thing queer-I'm no Sabu-like sidekick,/I'm the main drag. Ram Ram in a sari; salaam//on the street. I don't speak Hindu, Paki, or Indian,/can't control minds, have no psychic powers." Jericho Brown Cutlish, Rajiv Mohabir's stunning new collection, asks urgent questions about queer identities, diaspora and silence. Deeply grounded in 1838, the year the first ships brought indentured servants from India to Guyana, Cutlish reckons with the relationship between language and violence. These poems challenge the colonizer's English through Creole, Sanskrit, Hindi, Hindustani and Chutney songs, dazzling us at every turn: "May each face who ever said, Speak English / find their own tongue fettered and split, / my mixed blood blackening their faces." The book's title evokes the violence of a cutlass, and everywhere here we see language as knife and blade but also as solace. Cutlish is a luminous, beautiful book. Rajiv Mohabir is one of the most important poets writing today. --Nicole Cooley"--, Provided by publisher
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