Tartan and Turban

Bashabi Fraser (2004), Luath Press, Edinburgh

This is a collection of 65 poems, Bashabi’s second collection. She creatively spans the different worlds she inhabits (Scotland and India) celebrating the contrasts of the two countries whilst also finding commonality. Focussing on such themes as displacement, removal, belonging, identity, war, the poetry displays a lot of feeling and colour but is clear and direct.

There is an introduction by Robert Alan Jamieson which places this poetry in the context of other Scottish authors: ‘It is a work that offers a vital new view of Scottish life and questions the definition ‘Scottish writer’ itself.’ He also comments ‘It reminds us that the links between Scotland and India , particularly Bengal, are complex and old, and that although there are many differences, we look to ‘the same moon.’ He also draws attention to the use of dance rhythms (as in ‘Come Play with me ... it’s HOLI’) and poems about women as outsiders and victims.