Sasha Akhtar's Grimoire of Grimalkin, a contemporary masterpiece, is appropriately titled, for it is indeed a textbook of magic and there is certainly something feline but devilish about the voice we hear. This modern-day Liber de occulta philosophia reads like a wassail of honey meade distilled through concepts, as is when we read that "Egalite sounds like a burp" (p. 9). The magic this grimoire offers to der Zauberlehrling is that of words themselves, spells for spelling the world anew, for divining the words that lie beneath the surface, for summoning communication where it is not: "She loves him / this dead man / girlfriend tells / stories in French / subtitled in Vietnamese" (p.13). This work by a master smith is written in language-not in a language, but in language. The scurrying of energies that carry the reader along communicate to the reader in their very inter-communication with each other. The spell lasts from beginning to end. Read it. -- Phillip John Usher, Lecturer in French and Comparative Literature at Barnard College (Columbia University). Dans son Grimoire, Sasha Akhtar nous montre des intestins et de l'intelligence : elle n'ignore pas que, pour que la philosophie occulte soit digne de ce nom, il ne faut pas trop dire. Ce livre, voulu par la matiere dont il se nourrit, est un mugissement sans nom. Le lecteur aura peur parfois d'etre dupe, il aura peur parfois d'etre devenu sorcier a son tour, il aura peur parfois d'avoir refait le monde a son image, puis s'arrachera les yeux. La poesie contemporaine attendait ce livre. -- Christian Zorka, auteur de Sieges (Montreal: Le Quartanier, 2006). www.christianzorka.com
About the Author
Sascha Aurora Akhtar was born in Pakistan. Since that was obviously a mistake, she fled as soon as possible to an environment where women could be wacky. What was born was a hydra. Each head a different medium, via which to transmit her wyrd and whimsical witchery. She graduated from Bennington College in 1999. She has written all too many poems, out of which some have managed to become titled collections. Her films include Ana-el-Haqq (2002) and The Sea and Medusa (2006). In 2003 she received a fellowship from the Creative Writing department at UMASS Amherst where she worked with James Tate, Sabina Murray and Peter Gizzi. In 2005 and 2006, she performed in Butoh-based dance pieces at Chisenhale Dance Space in London. She recently was part of a year-long initiative by the International Museum of Women in San Francisco, exhibiting work by women artists from around the globe. Her photographic work was on display at Gallery 27 on Cork Street in September 2007 and an exhibition of her works is upcoming in Spring 2008 at The Commune in Karachi, Pakistan. She spends her time in London and Pakistan and is the co-producer of the successful La Langoustine Est Morte reading series.