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The Leaf of the Neem Tree


Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher: Hajar Press, 2021
Language: English

Known for their bitter taste, neem leaves have been used for centuries in South Asian traditional medicine. In The Leaf of the Neem Tree, Jamal Mehmood unravels bitter truths that come with growing out of youth and confronting the concrete realities of our world.

Weaving free verse and ghazal, English with Urdu, the poems lead the reader through the author’s wandering mind, which moves from Gillingham to Kashmir; Ghassan Kanafani to Mansour Hallaj. We also peer into the worlds of a struggling graduate dealing with the harshness of life after university; a shipman who finds himself swimming to England; and a man who decided to leave England behind altogether.

Balancing movement with pause, this impeccable collection deals in the alchemy of introspection—the quietness of loss, longing, memory and spirituality.

Jamal Mehmood is a poet, writer and filmmaker whose work has been featured by the BBC, Magma, Popula, Hikaayat and Media Diversified. He was shortlisted for the Outspoken Prize for Poetry in Film in 2019, won the national Poetry Rivals in 2016, and is an alumnus of the UniSlam post-emerging cohort of poets. His film Muriid was released in 2021 by the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the BBC as part of the New Creatives scheme. He lives in London.

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