Moniza Alvi: Contribution as British Poet

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      Moniza Alvi is a British poet was born in 1954 at Lahore, Pakistan. She was educated at the Universities of York and London, training as a teacher. She became Head of English at Aylwin School in London, and in 1995 married Robert Coe. Alvi's poetry came to public notice in 1992 when she co-won the Poetry Business prize. Peacock Luggage, a pamphlet, was subsequently published by Smith Doorstop of Huddersfield in 1992, and her first two collections, The Country at My Shoulder (1993) and A Bowl of Warm Air (1996), by Oxford University Press. The Country at My Shoulder was well received - it was chosen for special marketing in 1995 under the banner of 'New Generation Poets'. Observers of the new British poetry scene began grouping Alvi with a rising generation of Asian women writers in Britain, including Meera Syal and Sujata Bhatt.

      Alvi's ear for cadence also recalled the 'Persian' lyricism of Mimi Khalvati. With hindsight, these groupings appear to be socio-critical wish-fulfillment — Alvi is on record as saying 'the poems that do not concern my Asian background are equally important to me. . . I have written about Pakistan partly because it was, in the first instance, a fantasy. Indeed, she left Pakistan for England when only a few months old. She writes an economical free verse that has a disarming sense of artlessness, though the apparent 'innocence' of her voice disguises a strong intellectual drive to explore and come to terms with her dual cultural worlds, their languages and pressures.

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