Lancaster Trans-Scriptions
< By the Sea

Mimi Khalvati
The Chine


The_ChineWithin this collection of her poetry, Mimi Khalvati weaves themes rooted in her child-hood home, the British Isle of Wight. Through poetry she considers the houses in which she lived, the past coming into focus, and the most memorable feature of the island landscape, the chine-the local name for a feature where a stream has cut through solid rock. These poems also concentrate on family themes that allow Khalvati to demonstrate her lyrical skill while exploring the necessary connections between love in all its forms.

      The eponymous chine is a memorable feature of the landscape of the Isle of Wight, where Mimi Khalvati grew up, and the first section of her book is a series of poems rooted in the landscapes and houses in which she has lived, a past coming into focus, refigured from memories elicited by language, passion and tragedy. The second part of "The Chine" includes a new sequence, "The Inwardness of Elephants", and concentrates on family themes. In the final part of the book Khalvati's wonderful lyrical skills, now playfully and now in earnest, explore the necessary connections between love in all its forms, and the art of making poetry. Khalvati has a well-trained eye; she is also formally most resourceful. She is never merely painterly or imagistic. Her poems engage her as a woman and they engage her world. "The Chine" includes poems commissioned for National Poetry Day and broadcast on BBC Radio 4, for the Salisbury Festival, and written in connection with her poetry residency at the Royal Mail.                

review from

KhalvatiMimi Khalvati was born in Tehran, Iran, on 28 April 1944. She grew up on the Isle of Wight and was educated in Switzerland at the University of Neuchâtel, and in London at the Drama Centre and the School of African and Oriental Studies. She has worked as an actor and director in both the UK and Iran, founding Matrix, a women's experimental theatre group, and co-founding Theatre in Exile.

She is co-ordinator of the Poetry School, running poetry workshops and courses in London, and is co-editor of Tying the Song: A First Anthology from the Poetry School 1997-2000 (2000) and Entering the Tapestry: A Second Anthology from the Poetry School (2003). She is a tutor at the Arvon Foundation, and has taught Creative Writing at universities and colleges in the US and England. She was Poet in Residence at the Royal Mail as part of the Poetry Society's Poetry Places scheme and has given readings of her work at the Voice Box at the South Bank Centre in London, the Poetry Society and at festivals in Britain and mainland Europe.

      Her poetry collections include In White Ink (1991), and Mirrorwork (1995), for which she was awarded an Arts Council Writers' Award, and Entries on Light (1997). Selected Poems was published in 2000 and a new collection, The Chine, in 2002. She is also the author of a children's book, I Know a Place, published in 1985.

                              bio from contemporary


Abdulrazak Gurnah reads from By the Sea

view movie



Sing Like A River Crossing Borders Narrating the North Mediating Marginalities Trans-Scriptions Radiophonics


web design: kate horsley