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    ISBN: 9780889229464 | Paperback

    96 pages | Pub. Date: 20151013
    6 W × 9 H × 1 D inches
    Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE011000
    Rights: WORLD

What earthly use is the love of ornament? Slowing down to look closely at an inherited shawl made by hand, the title poem in Rahat Kurd’s Cosmophilia traces an object of luxury to the traditionally male art of Kashmiri shawl embroidery. The poet works with images from Kashmir, her maternal family’s place of origin, where the ability to make and appreciate beautiful things is both absolutely essential and taken for granted; where increasingly rare levels of artistic mastery are simultaneously prized and trivialized; where the struggle to carry on traditional art forms is strained by awareness of increasing obsolescence, severe political repression, and environmental degradation; a place both celebrated and dismissed as spectacle, as “paradise on earth.”

The question persists, throughout other poems in Cosmophilia, both as self-reflexive creative practice and existential dilemma. On the concrete streets of Vancouver, the anonymity and material ease of cities tug at the poet’s consciousness of frayed traditional ideals, both philosophical and aesthetic. Religious language and rituals considered in the aftermath of a marriage take on complex, subversive, and irreverent layers in a seven-poem sequence. Allusive, playful multilingual imagery inhabits long narrative meditations, free-form couplets, and the traditional ghazal, in elegiac or sharply satirical moods. Nastaliq, a centuries-old form of Persian and Urdu calligraphy, speaks to the author through the smoke-damaged voice of a fading celebrity confessional.

The emotionally powerful collection follows the elaborate, unexpected turns of the poet’s imagination, enlisting intricate details of memory and language and the occasional plain truth – “the hard solitude of the maker.” They intertwine political conflict and family history; they imagine Hamlet reluctantly confronting the partition of India and Pakistan. Cosmophilia translates multiple glittering facets of Muslim culture into, and reflects back from, the immediacy of embodied, urban Canadian experience.

“This very rich world of images & sounds offers something of a gift to English-speaking Canadian readers … Cosmophilia is full of moments [that] strike to the heart. It’s a rich & rewarding first collection by a writer I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from.”
—Eclectic Ruckus

“It is thus the intuitive and multivalent nature of Cosmophilia that makes it simultaneously personal and political, deeply intimate but also transnational – and ultimately familiar.”
—Niharika Pandit, Association for Feminist Anthropology

By Rahat Kurd

Rahat Kurd is a poet and a prose writer whose work has appeared in The Walrus and Maisonneuve magazines and has been nominated for a variety of literary awards. She is the author of Reading Rights: A Woman’s Guide to the Law in Canada (Quarry Press, 1999).

Read more about Rahat Kurd

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news | 2016-07-14
Tonight in New York City, the Poets House Poetry Publication Showcase opens New York City

…Talonbooks are featured in this year’s showcase: Cosmophilia by Rahat Kurd, Human Tissue by Weyman Chan, …

news | 2016-04-29
Tomorrow: Authors for Indies Day across Canada!

…Warehouse on Broadway in Vancouver, reading from Cosmophilia at 4 PM. Karen X. Tulchinsky, author of The Five …

news | 2016-03-30
This Saturday in Montreal, join us for the launch of Mend the Living

…also read from their newest poetry collections, Cosmophilia and Limbinal, respectively. Saturday, April 2, …

news | 2016-03-21
Read an interview with Rahat Kurd

…an interview with Rahat Kurd, poet and author of Cosmophilia . Kurd will read from Cosmophilia at Ottawa’s …

news | 2016-02-03
Valentine’s Day Specials!

…Rom Com by Dina Del Bucchia + Daniel Zomparelli Cosmophilia by Rahat Kurd This Poem by Adeena Karasick …

news | 2015-10-09
Jewel tones on a dark and stormy night

Cosmophilia, which means “love of ornament,” is the debut … An emotionally powerful collection, the poems in Cosmophilia follow the elaborate, unexpected turns of the … immediacy of embodied, urban Canadian experience. Cosmophilia launched last evening in Vancouver to a warm … at the Heartwood Café. Rahat Kurd reads from Cosmophilia at the book launch last evening Rahat Kurd reads … from Cosmophilia after being introduced by poet, fiction writer, …

news | 2015-10-05
October 8: Talon events across the country!

…Kurd launches her debut collection of poetry, Cosmophilia, at the Heartwood Community Café in Vancouver, …

news | 2015-08-10
Highlights from the CBC, Q&Q and 49th Shelf fall previews

…Com, Morse’s Prairie Harbour, Wah’s Scree, Kurd’s Cosmophilia, Fitzgerald’s Impeccable Regret, and Webb’s …