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New Writer 2021: Nasim Rebecca Asl

Poetry

Nasim Rebecca Asl headshot

Nasim Rebecca Asl is a poet and journalist living in Glasgow. After her undergraduate degree in English Literature, Nasim trained as a journalist. She was selected for the BBC’s Journalism Trainee Scheme in 2017 and now works in the realm of political television. Consequently, current affairs regularly seep into her poetry, though familial relationships, heritage, and the experience of being mixed-race feature heavily in her work.

Her poetry has appeared in Gutter Magazine, Modern Poetry in Translation and Middleground Magazine, as well as on Young Poet’s Network and Tapsalteerie’s anthology pamphlet Ceremony. In 2020 Nasim was featured in the poetry-film project Sorry I Was On Mute, part of the inaugural Fringe of Colour Films, and participated in the Traverse Young Writers programme. She is a member of the Scottish BAME Writers Network and an alumna of The Writing Squad.

You can find her on Twitter(this will open in a new window) and Instagram(this will open in a new window).

Writing sample

A resurrection in north-west Iran (imagined)

Mamanbozorg splits threads in the Caspian sun. We hear again
her rusted tongue speak, weave, paint carpets Persian. Here again,

the lambs she lambed raise their heads at the sound of her song. Her roosari dances. She calls to a God who answers, and cheers again:

Golgaz. Sweet flowers shed thorns and burst through dry soil to
carpet her feet. Sunlight holds her. She won't disappear again.

Under a pall of flour she kneads. Births noon and cherry wine.
Saffron, rose and thyme crescendo in her mouth. She feels again,

moves to the city where her children grew with the mountains.
Dusk breaks. She toddles the ninis to the park. Happy tears again.

She crosses the world and wonders if it's faith keeping the plane
adrift. A runway of stars lead her to us. The skies clear again.

Baba gets a chance to say goodbye but won't. Not again. She makes
Space for me beside her and says "Nasim, bia inja" - Come here, again.

Glossary

Mamanbozorg = Grandma 

Roosari = headscarf 

Noon = bread 

Ninis nini = baby, plus English plural 

Baba = dad 

Bia inja = come here

(This poem first appeared in Ceremony, published by Tapsalteerie)

Nasim says:

'Receiving a New Writers Award has been a real beam of light during a pretty dreary time. I’m very grateful to have been selected by Scottish Book Trust. To have this support and encouragement in my poetry is so exciting, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.'