Where Is the Mouth of That Word?



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About the Book

I breathed. I looked up. I saw her standing in the line of fire, “simply standing/on the last line of
this page”, asking, as she looked me in the eye, “Where are you reading from?”

And that, dear readers, who are about to encounter Maryam’s poems for the first time, is the
You can Google her, you can hear her speak 1 , you can explore her intersecting engagements as an essayist, translator, and academic.
But first, you can find her here, as I did, in a selection of her poems – from early to later, from the spoken word to the “vocal infection of the page”, from rant to reflection, plea to command.
You could, in obeyance, “Turn the page, and leave!”
You could be sentenced
to an expired word:

You could hear the tanin (echo) of Sepehri’s hich (nothingness) reverberating at the same frequency with which you see Dali’s ‘The Echo of the Void’ hovering in your line of vision.
You could, and you will.
For now, all that matters is knowing (asking!) where you read from.
And as for the title we eventually chose – where is the mouth of that word?
Wherever there is one – fearless enough to speak it.

– Sampurna Chattarji