Letters to My Mother and Other Mothers

Reviewed by Alastair Mabbott
From Four paperbacks that could make your week: Books and Poetry    

Edinburgh-based poet Bashabi Fraser’s last book, Ragas & Reels, celebrated modern multicultural Scotland. This new volume of poetry comprises the letters she has been writing to her mother since her death in 2005. Ma sounds like she was a remarkable woman. A Bengali of the post-Partition era, she was a University Professor who was unafraid of turning her hand to anything, whether that be teaching herself the harmonium or finally learning in middle age how to be a dressmaker. Bashabi writes of how she sees her mother in every act of generosity she witnesses and of having her back so that she can return all the kindness and support she received growing up. When not reminiscing about the vigil they held at the bedside of Bashabi’s daughter after she was hit by a car, she keeps her mum informed about climate change and current events. It’s a beautiful tribute, with a tone of intimacy and tenderness that’s genuinely touching.


The Herald 6 Nov 2015