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Zehra Naqvi

Zehra Naqvi is a Karachi-born Pakistani-Canadian poet raised in Vancouver, the unceded Coast Salish territories. She holds two masters degrees in migration studies and social anthropology from Oxford University.


The Knot of My Tongue: Poems and Prose

Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2024.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Naqvi follows a cast of characters from personal memory, family history, and Quranic traditions, at instances where they have either been rendered silent or found ways to attempt the inexpressible—a father struggling to speak as an immigrant in Canada; a grandmother as she loses her children and her home after the 1947 Partition; the Islamic story of Hajar, abandoned in the desert without water; the myth of Philomela who finds language even after her husband cuts off her tongue.  

Brilliantly blending the personal and the communal, memory and myth, theology and tradition, the poems in this collection train our attention—slow and immediate, public and private—on our primal ability to communicate, recover, and survive. This example is striking for the power of its speaking through loss and a singular, radiant vision.


Zehra Naqvi personal website

Publisher McClelland & Stewart, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada