Improvised Explosive Device

Arji Manuelpillai assures us this is not an Improvised Explosive Device as he packs his poetry in a duffle bag and invites us to accompany him through the everyday encounters – ‘real’ and ‘pixelated’- that illuminate the sometimes click-fast shift from butterfly-watcher to butterfly-killer but also the slow accumulation of the ‘dark spots’ deposited by hate, the ‘raised eyebrow’ of the CCTV outside a block of flats or humiliation carried as an heirloom. Together, his poems create an exquisitely layered, and moving, exploration of what brings individuals – from very different contexts but a shared world – to acts of violence and war. This collection of poetry is not an IED but it tears down the facades of easy explanations and lays bare what lies beneath as powerfully as if it were.

Hilary Pilkington, University of Manchester

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