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language is not the only thing that breaks

language is not the only thing that breaks

By Proma Tagore
Categories: All Titles, Poetry, BIPOC, Asian Literature
Paperback : 9781551523996, 72 pages, 2011


In this extraordinary debut poetry collection, Proma Tagore's language is not the only thing that breaks explores the junctions between migration, race, the body, and desire. The poems in this book offer spaces to reflect on a variety of interlinking issues: the routes and brutal legacies of European colonization and imperialism; the interrelations between different experiences of
migration or displacement and attendant geographies of water, land, place, or home; the politics of globalization, capitalism, settlement, and war; the real and symbolic maps of our many dislocations and journeys and, consequently,
our multiply layered memories, dreams, and
desires. Amidst the ongoing everyday realities of racism and war that have resulted from long-standing histories of colonization, language is not the only thing that breaks
offers small, delicate moments of being--a personal and moving response to a world where many people experience profound levels of dehumanization.

november 14

--for Reena Virk

I am working out the vocabulary of my silence.
--Muriel Rukeyser, "The Speed of Darkness"

in places where memory is impossible,
your story lives resilient and gives me new breath,
and your telling shatters the grammar of my silence,
as we begin working out the vocabularies and pathways
of voice.

in the unforgetting,
our rage will hold,
our words will refuse to be kept,
and i will not be consoled


Tagore's evocation of poignant, personal moments gives her work weight. -Shameless

- Shameless

These poems are devastating in their criticism of all the things human beings have done to fellow human beings and the planet: everything breaks, including language. -Malahat Review

- Malahat Review

Proma Tagore's politically minded debut, language is not the only thing that breaks, is an act of rebellion . .. Often working against the field of the page, breaking boundaries, visually and syntactically, Tagore creates interesting variations on what constitutes a poem's whole. -Winnipeg Free Press

- Winnipeg Free Press

Tagore displays a keen awareness of the global realities of displacement and imperialism through the spatial poetics of the body's fragmentation . .. The shifting rhythms of the line breaks sift longing in Tagore's poems, calling for a nuanced reading of "cultural difference" as a part of larger patterns of capital, migration, and labour. -Canadian Literature

- Canadian Literature