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A Choreographer's Cartography

Written by Jackie Wills for MsLexia on no date provided

Dance in all its forms, from tango to hip-hop, is the metaphor Raman Mundair uses in the title poem of her second collection. It's a compelling and vibrant poem that leads to a sequence on the waltz, and helps us understand the variety and experiment ation that characterise this work.

Mundair makes a case for art's ability to cross borders, to focus on 'emotional geography' rather than nationality. The collection opens with 14 poems written in Shetland dialect, several of them focused on the shoormal - 'the place where the sea meets the shore' (and, by implication, the crossing point from unbounded sea to land with all its customs, language and history). Edgy and disturbing, these poems mix lyrical beauty with uncertainty and violence.

She explores that emotional geography, too, in moving narratives about a girl's unrequited love, the loss of a step¬daughter and Queen Victoria's 'penchant for Sikh men.' The strength of this book is Mundair's determination to go where we least expect, to transform he radical steps poets like Carol Ann Duffy, Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols /aye taken into 'a new dance.'

This is a review of A Choreographer's Cartography

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