An exquisite collection from a poet at the peak of her powers, A God at the Door spans time and space, drawing on the extraordinary minutiae of nature and humanity to elevate the marginalised. Extending the territory of her zeitgeist collection Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, these new poems traverse history, from the cosmic to the everyday. There is a playful spikiness to be found in poems like ‘Why the Brazilian Butt Lift Won’t Save Us’, while others, such as ‘I Found a Village and in it Were All Our Missing Women’, are fed by rage. As the collection unfolds, there are gem-like poems such as ‘I Carry My Uterus in a Small Suitcase’ which sparkles on the page with impeccable precision. Later, there are the sharp shocks delivered by two mirrored poems set side by side, ‘Microeconomics’ and ‘Macroeconomics’. Tishani Doshi’s poetry deploys beauty to heal trauma, enabling the voices of the oppressed to be heard with piercing clarity. From flightless birds and witches, to black holes and Marilyn Monroe, A God at the Door illuminates with lines and images that surprise, inflame and dazzle.
In this, her first poetry collection since the award-winning Countries of the Body, Tishani Doshi returns to the body as a central theme, but extends beyond the corporeal to challenge the more metaphysical borders of space and time. These new poems are powerful meditations born on the joineries of life and death, union and separation, memory and dream, where lovers speak to each other across the centuries, and daughters wander into their mothers’ childhoods. As much about loss as they are about reclamation, Doshi’s poems guide us through an ‘underworld of longing and deliverance’, making the exhilarating claim that through the act of vanishing, we may be shaped into existence again.
Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods is Tishani Doshi’s third book of poems, following two earlier, highly praised collections, Everything Begins Elsewhere, published by Bloodaxe in 2012, and her debut, Countries of the Body, winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Tishani Doshi has been shortisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods and for her accompanying dance performance of the title poem.
August, 1968: Babo Patel arrives in London from Madras, with curly hair, jhill mill teeth and dreams of becoming a success. When he meets the beautiful, auburn-haired Siân Jones, he falls in love instantly. She, like him, is in search of something bigger than what the home she left behind can offer. But when Babo’s parents learn of his intention to marry ‘some girl from God knows where’ he is given an ultimatum: he can only marry Siân if they agree to live in Madras for two years before returning to London. As the years pass by, the calamities, quirks and heartaches of first love, lost innocence, and old age unfold across cultures and generations of this mixed-up family in a topsy-turvy world.