Moniza Alvi (born February 2, 1954) is a Pakistani-British poet and writer.)
She was born in Lahore. Her parents moved to England when she was an infant. She was educated at the Universities of York and London. According to Sawnet.org, "Peacock Luggage, a book of poems by Moniza Alvi and Peter Daniels, was published as a result of the two poets winning together the Poetry Business Prize in 1991 for her poem 'Presents from my aunts in Pakistan'.
Since then, Moniza Alvi has written four poetry collections. The Country at My Shoulder (1993) led to her being selected for the Poetry Society's New Generation Poets promotion. After a long career as a secondary school teacher, Moniza Alvi now tutors for the Open College of the Arts and lives in London.
Most recently she published a series of short stories 'How the Stone Found its Voice' (2005), inspired by Kipling's Just So Stories. In 2002 she received a Cholmondeley Award for her poetry.
In 2003 a selection of her poetry was published in Dutch by Wagner & Van Santen, publishers, in a translation by Kees Klok under the title 'Het land aan mijn schouder.'
Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in Pakistan, the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother. She moved to Hatfield in England when she was a few months old. She didn't revisit Pakistan until after the publication of her first book of poems - 'The Country over my Shoulder' - from which this poem comes.
The poet says:
Presents from My Aunts...was one of the first poems I wrote. When I wrote this poem, I hadn't actually been back to Pakistan. The girl in the poem would be me at about 13. The clothes seem to stick to her in an uncomfortable way, a bit like a kind of false skin, and she thinks things aren't straightforward for her.
I found it was important to write the Pakistan poems because I was getting in touch with my background. And maybe there's a bit of a message behind the poems about something I went through, that I want to maybe...
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