Dhaka Dust

Dhaka Dust
Dilruba Ahmed

“[Dilruba Ahmed] understands that she’s dust . . . She’s dust whipped across continents to land in, of all places, Ohio; dark-skinned dust to be spurned, shunned or boot-heeled; immigrant Muslim dust that is feared but also fears. Ms. Ahmed knows too that words are dust, but in them she found her 21st-century self, saved herself.”—The New York Times

“The poems [in Dhaka Dust] are remarkably clear in purpose, yet both rich and textured in content and voice. Ahmed’s work interweaves a grounded Stateside presence with the ghosts of her cultural homeland, all under the influence of a personal, yet holistic, sense of place and language.”—Shelf Awareness

About the Book

Winner of the 2010 Bakeless Prize for Poetry, the debut collection by Dilruba Ahmed

Can’t occupy the same space at the same time
unless, of course, you land in Dhaka
—from “Dhaka Dust”

Ranging across Europe and America to the streets of Bangladesh, the sharp-edged poems in Dhaka Dust are culled from a rich mélange of languages, people, and poetic attitudes. Through lyric and narrative poems, Dilruba Ahmed’s keen observations on birth, motherhood, and death offer a unique way into the beckoning world. Voices of villagers resonate alongside those of global travelers, each searching for an elusive homeland in small towns and cities alike. Vendors hawk their wares at a bazaar in Dhaka. Gyms in Ohio double as mosques for uprooted immigrants. In Ahmed’s skillful hands, these disparate subjects adroitly capture the textures of life in this new century.

Additional Reviews

“Readers, put Dhaka Dust on your must-have list this season.”—Rigoberto González, Harriet, the blog of the Poetry Foundation

“The sensuousness of Ahmed’s poems and their glimpses of transcendence leave you both sated and hungry—compelled to revisit the poems and to try to wrap your fingers around them again and again.”—Ploughshares

“Ahmed never evades our contemporary moment, taking on a globalizing, anxiety-ridden world while always focusing on the contradictory ways that her speakers live through them. Over the course of these poems, Ahmed subtly crafts the emotionally complex terrain that captures the sprawl and dislocation that shapes our early 21st century psychology.”—Hyphen