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A life poem, My Mother’s Scribe explores the symbiotic relationship between two poets – my mother, Maryan, and me. Its roots are firmly planted in the unnatural division of Kashmir in 1947, and my mother’s fractured mind. Her fractures would eventually be labeled schizophrenia. (There are either too few or too many words to label Kashmir’s fractures.)…

Our work reached a new stage in development in 2013 when it received the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, and was published in Ireland as In Another Country.

Mother passed away in her sleep at Hebrew Home, The Bronx. The last time I visited her was on 7th March. Hebrew Home locked down on the 10th. Mother died alone on 31 March 2020. She was 96. And so a new moment arrives …

While my mother’s story, like Kashmir’s, will never be complete, My Mother’s Scribe has reached a new stage of being, and will be published Oct 2020 by Yoda Press Monsoon.

Ather Zia

Author, Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women′s Activism in Kashmir (2019)

My Mother’s Scribe gut-punched me. Rafiq captures his mother’s worldly vanities, endearing her to the reader. The apple does not fall far from the tree—this is a Kashmiri apple at that.

Ranjit Hoskote

Ranjit Hoskote, poet, essayist and curator based in Bombay, translated I, Lalla:The Poems of Lal Ded (2011)

A profound sadness inhabits My Mother’s Scribe, yet so too do a continuity of affection, a lineage of hope. I leave you with the word Mouje: mother, mother country….

Gerald Jonas

former staff writer at The New Yorker, and a longtime contributor to the New York Time

Rafiq Kathwari is a dangerous man. A poet of family history, of geopolitics, he breaks down walls and leaves glittering shards whose beauties make you weep for what is and what could be. This is poetry that expects tears and earns them.  From a mother’s heart-wrenching madness to a nation’s lost paradise, the words confront change without flinching. Experience the alchemy by which art draws solace from suffering, resolution from desolation…

Justine Hardy

Founder, Healing Minds Foundation, a holistic mental health organization treating Kashmiris mentally scarred by the violence

Here is a threading together of loss: the Kashmir that Rafiq Kathwari spins together, held by poetic legacy so as to stop the essence of Kashmir from slipping through, is not a place but a prayer. Each line of ‘My Mother’s Scribe’ draws on poetry’s miraculous capacity to  reveal what the head finds so hard to hear from the heart.

Waqas Khwaja

Poet, Hold Your Breath

My Mother’s Scribe brings to life an entire age, with its conflicts, discords, and betrayals. A rare, exacting, illuminating collection that presents the human condition with enviable artistic economy and cleanses the heart and mind of all dross….

Gabriel Rosenstock

Irish poet and a thaumaturgist, his lates work is Walk With Gandhi (2019)

My Mother’s Scribe is not some mealy-mouthed requiem for a departed materfamilias but a madcap homage to someone with imagined links to the makers and shakers of her era. Kathwari does for poetry what Marquez, Kharms and Vonnegut did for prose…

A collection of my poems won the 2013 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award. Dories Press published the collection as, In Another Country, in 2015.

Colette Inez

author of The Luba Poems (Red Hen Press)

“Keenly observed, Kathwari’s subjects are the great subjects: family, war, history and love. Whether writing of his “off kilter” mother or harking back to the “speak memory” of his Kashmir childhood forever split by the Partition of 1947, Kathwari writes poetry of brilliant intensity. This is an original and sometimes heart-breaking book and deserves high praise.”

Alfred Corn

author of Unions (Barrow Street Press)

“Rafiq Kathwari is several poets rolled into one, reminding us, by turns, of Ginsberg, Plath and Richard Howard. This diverse collection of poems is autobiographical without being suburban, a window onto domestic experience in post-Partition Kashmir. Also a reminder that the family romance is always only a step away from civil war.”

Susan Shapiro

author of What’s Never Said (Heliotrope)

“Rafiq Kathwari’s poetry — often set in Kashmir — is breathtakingly beautiful, piercingly honest, wildly exotic yet universal too, as if you put Derek Walcott, Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri in a blender.”

Gabriel Rosenstock

author of The Naked Octopus (Evertype)

“Vivid, fearless vignettes of the displaced denizens of our global village, poems and prose poems that encompass a myriad of moods and situations, humour and horror, tradition jostling with modernity, autobiographical and family sketches with an aura of magic realism and sheer cussedness about them… a bloody marvel!”