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«Read Regional 2020/21

Hafsah Aneela Bashir: The Celox and the Clot

The Celox and the Clot explores relationships, love, the politics of conflict and the many problematic aspects of the world we move in today. It flits between the private and the public, between uncertainty of relationships under strain to the tragedy of war, between everyday joy and fundamental injustices.

Much of my collection is obsessed with naming people who have been reduced to statistics and soundbites in the media. It’s a way for me to challenge complacency in our lived experience, to call out fear and hatred whether that is global or local. It takes its title from ‘Drone’, a poem I penned about children caught up in war. The term ‘celox’, which I have often been asked about, is a powder used in war zones to stem a wound from bleeding and is a metaphor for the spilling of expression throughout the collection. Many of the poems are inspired by places where I have lived or passed through, whether that’s at an Indian cash-and-carry in London as a child or a bazaar in Lahore as an adult. Some of the poems touch upon the strengths and frailties of people I have met. Or the journeys they have taken to be here after living through British colonial rule in India.

In many ways The Celox and the Clot charts the journey I and many other women like myself have made, as we move towards a much more authentic state of being. On this journey the reader is privy to the brief moments of stillness, where the poems require nothing but quiet attention in their bid to address love, loss and grief before the reader is in motion again within that journey towards a higher self. The poems are tender, poignant and fierce, unapologetically examining our human condition and the conflicts that arise within us.

Questions for Readers

I Will Tell God Everything’, ‘A Tap on The Roof’ and ‘Drone’ portray traumatic experiences. What is the role of poetry in helping people survive trauma?

If poetry has a responsibility to look at the world, what can ‘Nani and the Washing Machine’, ‘Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy’ and ‘Ford Dagenham 1984’ tell us about the immigrant experience?

How is the prominent topic of death displayed in ‘To You’, ‘Onyx I’ and ‘Onyx II’?

Recommended Reading

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds
If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Girls Are Coming Out of The Woods by Tishani Doshi
All About Love by Bell Hooks

Hafsah Aneela Bashir is a Manchester-based poet, playwright and performer originally from East London. Founder and co-director of Outside The Frame Arts, she is passionate about championing voices outside the mainstream. Winner of the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship 2019, she is writer-in-residence with Manchester Literature Festival, Associate Artist with the Poetry Exchange, Associate Artist with Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Supported Artist at the Royal Exchange Theatre. She has worked creatively with Manchester International Festival, HOME, Ballet Black and ANU Productions.


10 Jun 2021, 19:00
Read Regional: Exploring Poetry Workshop with Hafsah Aneela Bashir, presented by Crossing the Tees
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