2021 WinnerRBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers
for The Knot of My Tongue
“Just as the revered Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz commanded us to speak in his seminal piece ‘Bol,’ so too does Zehra Naqvi’s ‘The Knot of My Tongue’ compel us to unpack the complexities of that seemingly simple act. In a voice that is equal parts theologian, autobiographer, and linguist, Naqvi calls us to consider the possibilities and impossibilities, the power and failures of the written word. These heartfelt poems play with form and structure as they weave their way through Quranic tradition, the conspiratorial silence of community and family, and the poet’s inner world towards a beauty that speaks beyond the limitations of language."
— 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award poetry jury (Irfan Ali, Domenica Martinello, and Jacob McArthur Mooney)