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Love's Labours
by Zeeba Ansari
(pub. 2013)


Love's Labours Reviews


"Boutique poetry press Pindrop introduces a debut collection of rich lyricism and insight from Zeeba Ansari. The poems in Love's Labours have a transformative, song-like quality, tackling modern myths, ancient legends and personal experience with beautiful poise and an unflinching eye. While the reader is transported into vividly imagined worlds, the poems are utterly grounded in reality and the elements, making for a collection which is burning with energy and teeming with life."

PBS Bulletin


"Zeeba Ansari's debut collection Love's Labours introduces a poet of remarkable range and purpose. These are singing, transformative poems grounded in reality and the elements. Her voice is richly lyrical, forging language into composures of insight and energy. The poet engages unflinchingly and resourcefully with her material. Whether drawing upon historical or mythical figures, tales from the Mabinogion or from the Silk Route, or from the hard-won landscapes of personal experience, her poems are beautifully wrought, strong and tactile, possessing that essential equipoise which gives a poem its being. She takes us from The World Tree to Kashgar Market, round the world and back again. It is a wondrous journey. These poems breathe and pulse with life."

Penelope Shuttle

 

Tent

As a child in summer you founded a country
whose native sun was the dim green light

of your tent in the garden, its local squares
laced up each night, its villages listening for rain.

When you slept, orchards rose from the apples
you kept in your pockets, peaches grew

from a heap of spat-out stones, oceans
gathered in the ground-sheet. As morning

collected in the flaps, you went to the woods
to search for twigs to whittle into tent pegs,

hand-picked keepers of your borders. Now
when you sleep, the same woods wave

their passports at me – at the checkpoint
you're guard, driver, smuggled human goods –

our bed has become a foreign land
and nothing I say is understood.

You keep me at a distance, in the dark,
far from your capital city. To make the word

husband you hired a man who broke stone,
mixed cement, and raised it facing north.

What you meant was four corners lightly set on grass,
a windproof canvas under stars.

 

(from Love's Labours)

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