Copyright©Yogesh Patel & all respective copyright holders of the material published
Our town in England with the whole of India sundering
out of its temples, mandirs and mosques for the customised
streets. Our parade, clad in cloak-
and tridents, chanting from station to station for Vasaikhi
over Easter. Our full moon madness for Eidh with free
pavement tandooris and legless dancing to boostered
cars. Our Guy Fawkes' Diwali -
for the Odysseus-
foe to re-
Our Sunrise Radio with its lip sync of Bollywood lovers
pumping through the rows of emporium cubby holes
whilst bhangra beats slam where the hagglers roar
at the pulled-
Sitar shimmerings drip down the furbishly columned
gold store. Askance is the peaceful Pizza Hut...
A Somali cab joint, been there forever, with smiley
guitar licks where reggae played before Caribbeans
disappeared, where years before Teddy Boys jived.
Our cafes with the brickwork trays of saffron sweets,
brass woks frying flamingo-
jalebis networking crustily into their familied-
Reveries of incense scent the beefless counter where
bloodied men sling out skinned legs and breasts
into thin bags topped with the proof of giblets.
Stepped road displays -
okra, aubergine -
lychee. Factory walkers prayer-
sponging swans with chapattis. A posse brightens
blowing dreams into pink bubble gums at neck-
descending and tight-
point for poled yards of silk for own-
The mother of the runaway daughter, in the marriage
bureau, weeps over the plush catalogues glossed
© Faber and Faber & Daljit Nagra
Our Town with the Whole of India!
"...get rid of the vague statements that sound() good but (are) probably undermining the overall design of the poem.."
'It (is) possible for someone to write about 'Asians' and be successful in poetry..'
Read about Daljit and listen to him reading his poems at the Thought Fox:
Order Daljit’s books from Faber and Faber here:
Daljit Nagra has turned out to be an inspiration and an aspiration for all Diasporic South-
The embroidery of the images in a poem in this issue is not only coherent, precise, and haunting, but fetchingly narrative, in the tradition of artistic approach of the Padmashri Gukam Mohamed Sheikh, also a renowned poet, and Bhupen Khakhar, where the paintings tell us multiple stories, on one canvas, and in a singular time frame. As third party observers we become privileged to be in all those happenings at the same time. The poem I have chosen for this issue does exactly that. We are in the realm of a sea of stories, as one of Salman Rushdie's novels explores. The poem is not only in the finest tradition of English verse that is culturally chronicle, but is also an all embracing sensory experience to allow us to grab an Indian perception of the ambience in our alienation as permanent immigrants, weirdly the Trishanku British; but not English, Welsh, Scot, or Irish! A context of the limbo state applies to the Diasporic writers dispersed internationally. I have been an advocate of Diasporic writing that highlights our experience as these Trishankus. A very few have truly managed to be sincere in this undertaking. Daljit is refreshingly brilliant, honest, and original in this rank.
However, he is not limited to this approach. One just needs to look at his other anthologies, including the latest Ramayana, short-
An Extraordinary Achievement of Excellence as a Poet
Daljit Nagra comes from a Punjabi background. He was born and raised in London then Sheffield. He has won several prestigious prizes for his poetry. In 2004, he won the Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem with Look We Have Coming to Dover! This was also the title of his first collection which was published by Faber & Faber in 2007. This won the South Bank Show Decibel Award, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and was nominated for The Costa Prize, The Guardian First Book Prize, the Aldeburgh Prize and the Glen Dimplex Award. His second collection, Tippoo Sultan's Incredible White-
Daljit's poems have been published in New Yorker, Atlantic Review, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Poetry International, Rialto and The North.
He has performed at venues such as Banff, Calgary, Toronto, Bratislava, Galle, Mumbai, Delhi, Orkney, Belfast, Dublin, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Ty Newydd and many places in England.
Daljit has been on the Board of the Poetry Book Society and the Poetry Archive. He has judged the Samuel Johnson Award 2008, The Guardian First Book Prize 2008, The Foyles Young Poets Competition 2008, The National Poetry Competition 2009, the Costa Poetry category and the overall winner in 2012. He has also hosted the TS Eliot Poetry Readings 2009. He is the Keats' House Poet-
He is the Lead Poetry Tutor at The Faber Academy and has run workshops all over the world.
He is a regular contributor to BBC radio and has written articles for The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Observer, The Times of India.
Patrons: Lord Parekh & Lord Dholakia
Word Masala Award