The latest from Doshi explores the extraordinary minutiae of nature and humanity to redefine belonging and unveil injustice. In an era of pandemic lockdown and brutal politics, these poems consider what must come next—the return of wonder and free movement and a profound sense of connection to what matters most.
Tishani Doshi’s stunning new poetry collection, A God at the Door, performs the difficult task of locating the body within the broader politics of state power and gender. Through it all, her voice remains clear as a bell, her hold over craft unwavering ... Disparate though they may be in terms of theme, tone and approach, the poems nevertheless sit brilliantly together, the effect achieved akin to that of a single long narrative. Doshi doesn’t given in to the temptation of taking shortcuts, of saying the trite, politically correct thing. Everything is held up to the light so that we arrive slowly, by gradual steps, at a way of looking at the world ... Doshi has an eye for the incongruent—it is on this that the poems rest ... Another equally striking aspect of Doshi’s work is her pitch-perfect awareness of a poem’s performative life ... Doshi can be deadly serious and funny at the same time ... The world is a mess and there is no way to square it all. But Doshi’s poems help us sit with all that is incongruent and awry.
In A God at the Door, Tishani Doshi etches incisive, luminous portraits of humanity into landscapes where the grim and the comforting are frequently interchangeable ... These poems delve into the conflicts between disaster and renewal and between past and present. They are tender enquiries rather than resolutions ... The natural world lends a canvas of spectacle to the collection, where even the eruption of a volcano is understood as a sign of birth. There are remarkable, if brief, moments of splendour in these poems. They swear allegiance to the marvels of the world without dwelling for too long on their meaning.
An ambitious and exploratory book about the contradictions of aging, feminist archetypes, and historical and contemporary ruins. Doshi’s poems encompass multiple registers of language, at times shifting abruptly from prophetic...to rhetorical...to cheeky ... At its best, the effect of this tonal scaling is wonderfully surprising ... Doshi’s careful portraits of women complicate popular culture’s fetishization (or neglect) ... There are moments when a poem’s reliance on shifting registers can begin to feel a bit formulaic ... But, my feeling about Doshi is that she is good at many things and therefore has choices and has to make choices about what word suits the mood, what voice suits the volta. Few are able to write with such range of sensibilities, which are, in a sense, nomadic and voraciously searching ... The route of her future work has me curious. And waiting.