Mimi Khalvati

Mimi Khalvati is an Iranian-born British poet.

Mimi Khalvati at the British Library 12 April 2011
Khalvati at the British Library in 2011
Mimi Khalvati.jpeg
Khalvati at King's College London Shakespeare Festival February 2016

Life and career

She was born in Tehran, Iran in 1944. She grew up on the Isle of Wight and was educated in Switzerland at the University of Neuchâtel, and in London at the Drama Centre and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

She then worked as a theatre director in Tehran, translating from English into Persian and devising new plays, as well as co-founding the Theatre in Exile group.

She now lives in London Borough of Hackney, and is a Visiting Lecturer at Goldsmiths College and a director of the London Poetry School.

Khalvati was 47 when her first book appeared in 1991.[1] Its title, In White Ink, derives from the work of Hélène Cixous who claimed that women in the past have written "in white ink". Michael Schmidt observes that Khalvati is "formally a most resourceful poet".[2]

Khalvati is the founder of The Poetry School, running poetry workshops and courses in London, and is co-editor of the school's first two anthologies of new writing: Tying the Song and Entering The Tapestry. She is also tutor at the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing at universities and colleges in the United States of America and Britain.


  • In White Ink (Carcanet Press,1991)
  • Mirrorwork (Carcanet Press, 1995)
  • Entries on Light (Carcanet Press, 1997)
  • Selected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2000)
  • The Chine (Carcanet Press, 2002)
  • The Meanest Flower (Carcanet Press, 2007)
  • Child: new and selected poems 1991-2011


  • "There is some poetry in the universe, in the world we live in. What poets do is to first be alive to it, and awake and receptive to it, and in love with it – I think it has a lot to do with love – and then have the wherewithal to translate that poetry that’s out there into poems, so, for me it’s an act of listening and of translating into heard and written language." [3]


  1. ^ Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, p. 858. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007.
  2. ^ Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, p. 859.
  3. ^ ""The Weather Wheel": An interview with Mimi Khalvati".

Further reading

  • Kociejowski, Marius. God's Zoo: Artists, Exiles, Londoners (Carcanet, 2014) contains a biographical chapter "Tehran in Stoke Newington - Mimi Khalvati, Vuillard and the Stone of Patience".

External links

2007 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

AQA Anthology

The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (the AQA) has produced Anthologies for GCSE English and English Literature studied in English schools. This follows on from AQA's predecessor organisations; Northern Examinations and Assessment Board (NEAB) and Southern Examining Group (SEG).

Asia House Festival of Asian Literature

The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature, is the first and only Literary festival in the UK dedicated to writing about Asia.The Festival focuses on the newest and best books about Asia or Asians in an annual series of talks and discussions. Featured are fiction and non-fiction, written by Asians or non-Asians, covering a broad selection of Asian countries from the Persian Gulf in the West, to Indonesia in the East.

Believing that the most accessible way to understand a culture is through its literature, The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature offers a forum for the people of Britain to gain greater understanding of Asian cultures and of the Asian communities around them at home.

Cholmondeley Award

The Cholmondeley Award (CHUM-lee) is an annual award for poetry given by the Society of Authors in the United Kingdom. Awards honour distinguished poets, from a fund endowed by the Dowager Marchioness of Cholmondeley in 1966. Since 1991 the award has been made to four poets each year, to the total value of £8000.

Culture of the Isle of Wight

As an island, the Isle of Wight maintains a culture close to, but distinct from, that of the south of England. A high proportion of the population are now 'overners' rather than locally born, and so with a few notable exceptions it has more often formed the backdrop for cultural events of wider rather than island-specific significance.

The Island has inspired many creative works. Local people often seek to defend their real or perceived culture, and local politics is often dictated by a desire to preserve the traditions and habits of the Island.

The first creative flowering occurred during the reign of Queen Victoria, under whose patronage the island became a fashionable destination for the gentry.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.

Joan Riley

Joan Riley (born 26 May 1958) is a Jamaican-British author. Her 1985 debut novel The Unbelonging made her "the first Afro-Caribbean woman author to write about the experiences of Blacks in England".

Kajal Ahmad

Kajal Ahmad or Kejal Ehmed (born 1967 Kirkuk, Iraq) is a contemporary Kurdish poet, writer and journalist.

Lawrence Ball

Lawrence Ball (born 17 September 1951) is an English musician and composer who lives in North London. He produces multi-media compositions, performs in concert, and also works as a private tutor in mathematics, music theory and physics.

List of poets

This is an alphabetical list of internationally notable poets.

Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets

Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets (established in 2009) are a set of British literary awards for poetry writing and publishing in pamphlet form. As of 2012, the awards are administered by Wordsworth Trust in association with the British Library and the Times Literary Supplement, and the financial support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust. The trust was established in 1966 by the late Lord Marks, 2nd Baron of Broughton. Both awards carry a prize of £5,000.The prize was created to show how effective pamphlets – defined by the award as a booklet of up to 36 pages – can be in introducing new poetry to readers. The Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney praised the prize's establishment as "inspired".

Mimi (given name)

Mimi is a feminine given name and a shorter form (hypocorism) of the given names Miriam, Maria, Mary, and Emilia, and also the name Emily.

Pascale Petit (poet)

Pascale Petit (born 1953), is a French-born British poet. She was born in Paris and grew up in France and Wales. She trained as a sculptor at the Royal College of Art and was a visual artist for the first part of her life. She has travelled widely, particularly in the Peruvian and Venezuelan Amazon.

She has published seven poetry collections: Heart of a Deer (1998), The Zoo Father (2001), The Huntress (2005), The Treekeeper's Tale (2008), What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo (2010), Fauverie (2014) and Mama Amazonica (2017). She also published a pamphlet of poems The Wounded Deer: Fourteen Poems after Frida Kahlo (2005). Four of her collections were shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and her seventh, Mama Amazonica, won the RSL Ondaatje Prize. In 2018 she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Poetry Salzburg Review

Poetry Salzburg Review is an English language, biannual literary magazine published by Poetry Salzburg at the University of Salzburg and edited by Wolfgang Görtschacher. It is a successor to The Poet's Voice, which was edited and published in Austria by British poet Fred Beake, James Hogg and Görtschacher. Since its creation in 2001, the journal aims to present a diverse range of contemporary poetry along with premiere translations into English, interviews with prominent and emerging poets and translators, poetry book reviews and general essays on poetry. As of 2018 the editorial board consists of Robert Dassanowsky, Vahni Capildeo, Keith Hutson.

In addition to its translations, it is one of the very few poetry publications that features accomplished international English language poets from beyond the English language world (i.e. writers from Austria, Bosnia, Switzerland, Croatia, Greece, Pakistan, Hungary, Germany, Singapore, Finland, Poland, Serbia, Ukraine, and Italy, among others). The Poetry Salzburg press imprint publishes poetry books and collections in English. As of the Summer 2004 issue, PSR features new surrealistic, abstract and fantastic realist cover art by upcoming international artists including Sarah Bernal-Rutter, Leslie Buchanan, David Brooks, Helga Gasser, Paulo Cavalcante, Daniel Y. Harris, Jeanie Tomanek, Siegfried Zademack, Roland H. Heyder, Klaus Wiemann, Otto Rapp, Michael Cheval, Martin-Georg Oscity.

Poetry School

Poetry School is a national arts organisation, registered charity and adult education centre providing creative writing tuition, with teaching centres throughout England as well as online courses and downloadable activities. It was founded in 1997 by poets Mimi Khalvati, Jane Duran and Pascale Petit. Poetry School offers an accredited Master’s degree in Writing Poetry, delivered in both London and Newcastle, in collaboration with Newcastle University. Online courses are delivered via CAMPUS, a social network dedicated to poetry.

In 2018 the Poetry School moved to new premises at Dock Offices, Canada Water, London, from their previous offices on Lambeth Walk.

The Poetry School's annual Books of the Year list is released in December, and celebrates noteworthy books and pamphlets of poetry published during the year.Poetry School works with a number of partner organisations to deliver a range of projects, including the Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry, the Primers mentorship scheme, and, from 2018, a new poetry award and mentorship programme, The Women Poets' Prize, in memory of The Literary Consultancy co-founder Rebecca Swift. The Women Poets' Prize offers three female-identifying poets a programme of support and creative professional development opportunities in collaboration with seven partner organisations, including, in addition to Poetry School, Faber and Faber, Bath Spa University, The Literary Consultancy, RADA, City Lit and Verve Festival.

Poetry Translation Centre

The Poetry Translation Centre (PTC) is an organization dedicated to translating poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. It was founded by the British poet Sarah Maguire in 2004. Its work has been championed by such British poets as Nick Laird, and it is one of the Arts Council England's regularly funded organisations.

The PTC's website currently includes translations of 521 poems by more than 100 poets from 21 countries written in 19 different languages – from Amharic to Zapotec. The poems are given in three different versions: in the original language, as a basic 'literal' translation and as the final version in English, thus giving a valuable insight into the translation process. The site also features recordings of poems read in English, Arabic, Kurdish, Portuguese, Somali, Tajik and Urdu, together with videos and podcasts of readings.

The PTC has organised several World Poets' Tours. The first, in 2005, introduced Partaw Naderi (Afghanistan), Gagan Gill (India), Toeti Heraty (Indonesia), Coral Bracho (Mexico), Maxamed Xaashi Dhamac 'Gaariye' (Somaliland) and Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi (Sudan) to UK audiences. In 2008, Corsino Fortes (Cape Verde), Maxamed Xaashi Dhamac 'Gaariye', Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and Farzaneh Khojandi (Tajikistan) took part in the Centre's second World Poets' Tour, which also featured the poetry of Kajal Ahmad (Kurdistan) and Noshi Gillani (Pakistan), who were unable to travel to the UK. In 2017 its collections, The Sea-Migrations: Tahriib by Asha Lul Mohamud Yusuf was named by the Sunday Times as the best poetry book of the year. It was translated from Somali by Clare Pollard with Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’ and Said Jama Hussein, and is published by Bloodaxe Books. In 2018 the Georgian poets Salome Benidze and Diana Anphimiadi toured the UK.British poets who have contributed translations have included Maura Dooley, Carole Satyamurti, Choman Hardi, David Harsent, Jane Duran, Jo Shapcott, Katherine Pierpoint, Lavinia Greenlaw, Mark Ford, Mimi Khalvati, Sarah Maguire, Sean O'Brien and W N Herbert.

Royal Society of Literature

The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) is a learned society founded in 1820, by King George IV, to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent". The society is a cultural tenant at London's Somerset House.

T. S. Eliot Prize

The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry is a prestigious prize that was, for many years, awarded by the Poetry Book Society (UK) to "the best collection of new verse in English first published in the UK or the Republic of Ireland" in any particular year. The Prize was inaugurated in 1993 in celebration of the Poetry Book Society's 40th birthday and in honour of its founding poet, T. S. Eliot. Since its inception, the prize money was donated by Eliot's widow, Mrs Valerie Eliot and more recently it has been given by the T S Eliot Estate. The T S Eliot Foundation took over the running of the T S Eliot Prize in 2016, appointing Chris Holifield, formerly director of the Poetry Book Society as its new director, when the former Poetry Book Society charity had to be wound up, with its book club and company name taken over by book sales agency Inpress Ltd in Newcastle. At present, the prize money is £20,000, with each of nine runners-up receiving £1500 each, making it the United Kingdom's most valuable annual poetry competition. The Prize has been called "the most coveted award in poetry".The shortlist for the Prize is announced in October of each year On the evening before the announcement of the Prize, the ten shortlisted poets take part in the Readings at the Royal Festival Hall in London's Southbank. 2000 people attended the 2011 reading.

University of Neuchâtel

The University of Neuchâtel (UniNE) is a French-speaking university based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The university has four faculties (schools) and more than a dozen institutes, including arts and human sciences, natural sciences, law and economics. The Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, with 2,000 students, is the largest school of those that comprise the University of Neuchâtel.

The university has an annual budget of CHF 144 million and an annual research fund of CHF 40 million. Approximately 4,000 students, including 600 PhD students attend the university, and more than 600 diplomas, licences, doctorates and certificates are awarded each year. The university has more than 1,100 employees.

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