Join east London indie publisher Penned in the Margins to celebrate the launch of Arji Manuelpillai’s debut collection, Improvised Explosive Device.
Improvised Explosive Device is a startlingly innovative exploration of extremism, hate crime and violence by poet Arji Manuelpillai. In this powerful and unsettling first collection, Manuelpillai presents a vision of the contemporary haunted by Melville’s image of the whale – the terror beneath the surface of the sea. His uncompromising focus on violence is laced with gallows humour and the surreal, framed against the mundane detritus of modern life: two boys playing Mortal Kombat; a field of old trainers; the lonely glare of laptop light; a suspicious looking package in the back seat of a van.
The poems in Improvised Explosive Device emerged through research and interviews with academics, sociologists, and former members of extremist groups and their families – from the English Defence League and the National Front to ISIS and the Tamil Tigers. These complex, unnerving texts ask a series of important questions. What drives a person to commit a radical act of violence? How is that violence mediated through screens and social media? And how does the British government police marginalised groups? Improvised Explosive Device is a brave, surprising and risk-taking book; it will change the way you look at the world.
A Poetry Book Society Recommendation