Usha Kishore’s third poetry collection is gleaned from nearly two decades of writing. This book examines the political, cultural and linguistic spaces of first-generation South Asian immigrants to the UK, and illustrates that to live in the diaspora is to occupy a spectral space, to be haunted by the ghosts of history, empire and colonialism, to be a ghost flitting in and out of spaces called nations, to be homeless, to be caught between. The binary perspectives of assimilation and marginalisation recur in these poems as Kishore documents the politics of being an immigrant professional interacting with the harsh realities of racism and discrimination as she draws from her experience as an English teacher and tries to chart her poetic space in an imagined borderland. Richly experiential and languishing in language, these are poems that speak to our quest for home.
Usha Kishore is an Indian-born British poet and translator, resident on the Isle of Man. Her poetry has been internationally published and anthologised by Macmillan, Hodder Wayland, Oxford University Press, Harper Collins India and Orient BlackSwan. Kishore’s poetry is part of the British primary and Indian middle school and undergraduate syllabi. She won the Pre-Raphaelite Poetry Prize (2013), Exiled Writers Ink Poetry Competition (2014), and the Word Masala Award (2016). Kishore is the author of two previous poetry collections and a book of translation from the Sanskrit.
Immigrant is a timely intervention when the world piles derision on the word, making the ageold reality of migration since recorded time appear a crime for today’s moving humanity. This rich collection challenges all constructs of negative imaging of the migrant self. In these poems of postcolonial probing, Kishore has appropriated with confidence a language that was imposed to rule, wielding it with delicacy, sharpness and finesse to find an interstitial space that the cosmopolitan citizen of the world inhabits and feels at home in. — Prof Bashabi Fraser