Bring Now the Angels: Poems
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About the Author
"Dilruba Ahmed's address in a poem feels so personal, one might look over one's shoulder a few times to see if she is watching. The "you" feels intimate, personal, immediate. Perhaps the late and great Jane Mead would be another voice that felt so warm and close. The "I" is familiar, the "he" and "she" and "they" feel like the people in my own life. Where others might choose distance in order to address the painful decline of a parent, the difficulties of any life, Ahmed bends closer in, closer to the discomfort, to the wound, to the dying. I feel heard in these poems, seen and known. Ahmed has two of the greatest gifts of any poet--empathy and music, which is to say: song and heart."--Kazim Ali
Between the two poles of what Dilruba Ahmed has called her "ghost homeland and language" of Bangladesh and her years of childhood and adulthood in Ohio and Pennsylvania, she has created a generational meditation: parents, poet, children. With the great clarity of her images and her eloquent articulation of complex feelings of loss and respite, grief and thankfulness, she has written a book of life. At the center of it is the death of her father; this is also surrounded by other sorrows and vulnerabilities (especially of children) that all of us experience, yet Ahmed also expresses radiantly the blessed temporary recuperations and little resurrections of daily life. Such memorable poems as her "Phase One," "Residue," "Incident," "With Affirmative Action and All," "Snake Oil," "Afterward," and "Paying the Coyote" unite body and spirit in a mood of profound and perpetual questioning. In "Another Form of Skin," she writes, "I have hung on a clothesline / shirts so white that I / felt surrounded by clouds / or by the impossible words / of God."
--Reginald Gibbons, author of Last Lake
"In Bring Now the Angels, Dilruba Ahmed sings a complex song of loss: loss of a father, loss of a culture, and loss of country, both the original country and the one in which one is raised. In tightly-wound lyrics, Ahmed questions what it is to live in this present moment where loss seems to build almost hourly. With stringent rhetoric and beautiful imagery, Ahmed shows us what it means to be '[c]aught between one world / and the next . . .'"--C. Dale Young