on 7 October 2007
I picked up a copy of this in a bookshop and started flipping through it. Half an hour later I'd read it from cover to cover, to the annoyance of everyone in the bookshop, after which I felt obliged buy it. I even did so despite Faber's extortionate demand for nine quid. Should have waited and got it on Amazon.
Anyway, it's cracking stuff. Nagra's the real deal. I confess that most modern poetry makes my teeth ache with boredom because it's so earnest and glum and 'look-how-cleverly-I-put-that!'. Nagra's stuff isn't. It has verve and charm and soul, it's noisy and rude and very funny. He speaks -- or rather, his characters speak -- in a whole variety of voices: teenage Jaswinder who wishes she was black and chilled, querulous Kabba laying into his son's English teacher ('my boy, vil he tink ebry new/Barrett-home Muslim hav goat blood-party/barbeque?') and Singh who runs 'di worst Indian shop/ on di whole Indian road', and spends all his time upstairs with his 'newly bride'. Nagra has invented an amazing demotic here, a loud comic blend of Punjabi and English. Although many of the poems dwell on darker themes -- racism, oppression, arranged marriages -- the prevailing tone is one of exuberance and charm, as exemplified by the first and last poems of the collection.
I always enjoy poetry with a touch of fiction or drama about it -- the sort that introduces characters and makes them come alive, and tells stories or at least parts of stories, and keeps us entertained. Most of Nagra's poems do exactly that. I reckon he'd make a pretty good playwright too -- or stand-up comedian. Though I hope he keeps writing poetry and that lots of people buy it.
By the way, I'm not one of Nagra's pupils. Never heard of him before today. But I bet his classes are interesting.
on 22 December 2012
This is simply one of the best contemporary anthologies I've read and one of the very few I return to again and again with relish. Borrowing Neil Bloodaxe Astley's words re poetry, this is poetry which exudes 'the fullest and most subtle flavour'. Its rhythmical, phonetic delicacies offer a colourful insight into British-Asian culture and are an inspiration to read. Thanks Daljit!
(I'm surprised there aren't more reviews for such a brilliant collection!)
on 24 February 2007
Last year I purchased a poem entitled `oh my rub' by Daljit Nagra, and it was so refreshing that I immediately became a fan. Earlier this year, I was informed that he was in the process of releasing a collection of poems, which excited me, beyond belief. I was so overly enamored that I reserved a copy on Amazon months before the release. Let's get one thing straight from the off. Daljit Nagra's `look we have coming to Dover!' is a work of genius. The question is not to question its genius, but to question what type of genius it represents. Or the question could be couched thus: Why do you, dear reader, read? Is it for the idealism, or for the reality? The answer is probably going to be "a bit of both". That's what I was looking for. So, with `look we have coming to Dover!' here's the rub; yes, the use of language, the memorable phrases, the story's, all these are without question dazzling. I recently took a trip to Monaco with my fiancé, we found a quaint Deli/café were we sat there reading Nagra's work whilst drinking the most terrific wine, and indulged into some fine `foie gras'. My advice to you, is buy this masterpiece, and hope for more.
on 19 November 2006
I have had the honour of profiting from my good friend Daljit's teachings for a number of months now at my secondary school and would go so far as to say I am the finest student in the class, a muse if you will.
Suffice to say the man knows his stuff but as amusing as studying Shakespeare can be (for novelty value if nothing else), it pales in comparison to Mr Nagra's work: the patron saint of English Literature (a BLUE CHIP subject). The number and range of devices used to describe a multitude of subjects, ranging from contemporary social issues and attitudes to romantic poetry to put Keats to shame, really is a wonder to behold and, though I was first impressed by his work being published by Faber and Faber, I now feel it is holding this man and his incredible poetry back.
I must wrap this up, but first a thank you to Sire Nagra, for teaching me the wonders of PEE. To summarise, if you enjoy poetry, genius, or PURE UNRIVALED QUALITY of any kind, buy this 21st century bible of poetry and bask in the teachings of The Nagrameister
on 10 March 2007
Several weeks ago, after my daily ponder through the Guardian,I had to pause. But why? To reflect upon the beautiful feedback that one flawless reviewer left on Daljit Nagra's name. After reading 'put's Keats to shame', I did not hesitate to dash off (not exceeding the speed limit) to my local literature outlet store and purchase this anthology. After numerous reads, I found that 'pure unrivaled quality' was a mere understatement for the plethora of emotions that Nagra uprooted within me. Later that evening, during our weekly 'culture club', and after much conversing with my circle of scholars about the meanings of Nagra's work, we collectively discovered that no adjectives could extinguish the fire of euphoria and prosperity that filled our cardiac organ's when experiencing these long awaited masterpieces.
I look forward to diving head first into your future works, which are waiting in the wings, and to divulge (but never choke upon) your upcoming verse's that will hopefully sing the tunes that only red-breasted robin's can whistle on an indian-summer's day.