Ghazal Mimi Khalvati Essay

Mimi Khalvati is an Iranian-born British poet.

Life and career[edit]

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 Helene 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


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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".

Mimi Khalvati at the British Library 12 April 2011
Mimi Khalvati at King's College London Shakespeare Festival February 2016
  1. ^Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, p. 858. Wiedenfeld and Nicolson, 2007.
  2. ^Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, p. 859.

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This Tusitala conversation between Janet Lewison and Moira Eribenne discusses the rapture of love in two of the AQA Moon on the Tides most popular poems, Mimi Khalvati’s Ghazal and Carol Ann Duffy’s Hour.

This discussion proved a remarkably lively conversation about love’s stories and offers students and interested readers lots of ideas for essays and further discussion.


I find the rapture of Duffy’s joyful Hour very thrilling Moira and the act of worshipping another physically, dominates the poem! Perhaps the time limit is also the key to the ecstasy too, as a cynic might say, as the poem does contain within it clues to a slightly different reading of the rapture of these lovers. When we are restricted or constrained by time we may enjoy a moment rather more than we would on a daily basis- hence the shock some passionate lovers find when they start to live together.

I think your allusions to Goldfinger and ‘Midas’ ironically shed a different light (other than poem’s golden glow) upon the relationship. Without wanting to sound like a kill joy, I will just try and argue slightly less positively about the relationship and maybe suggest that it is, in its own way,  as idealising as Ghazal, though subtly aware too of love’s frailty too.

Remember that Hour is a poem that isolates a moment in time through the lively employment of the present tense. It gives representation to a golden ‘here’ or now. This use of the present tense gives immediacy and powerful sensuality to the poem. Hour is significantly collected in a long sequence of poems about a love affair, where the relationship eventuality comes to a melancholy end. This end I would contend is glimpsed throughout the course of the poems about this relationship and even in this particular poem, where love seems ecstatic and adoring, we may be able to detect cracks or incongruities in the way the speaker gives representation to the relationship.

Moira A. Eribenne (BA, M.Ed.)

I’m a writer  working in education questing for understanding and depth in language and communication;  curious about the ‘motors’ behind written text, the spoken word or simply the gestured,  to wit, writing and ‘reading’ poetry landscapes language to such a degree that one has to look deeper, longer, to appreciate what is there:  simply a train or a time machine.

Through a series of conversations I engage with Dr. Lewison to explore written landscapes, their hues and allegories with a view to taking students along on a journey of discovery treasured in language.


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