In Piecemeal, Ahana Banerji inhabits the soft and the small: wrists, fists, and window frost, mustard seed and salmon scale. Her poetry lives inside the minute pressures of everyday life, inside the shudders and bruises of the human body. In paying careful attention to parts of the whole, Banerji’s smallest gestures become suddenly enormous. These are poems about fear and family, about love and language and hunger.

Banerji moves through a variety of forms—villanelle, prose poem, ‘bedtime story’—with a quiet rhythmic confidence. And from within the glistening structures of the poems, we glimpse strange characters and conversations. There are mothers and daughters, gods and lobsters, Federico García Lorca and Joan Didion.

At the heart of Piecemeal, though, is the speaker’s promise to herself:

‘I, too, will be

good. Good

as the jugular’s perfect hyacinth’.

It is an intensely vivid and hopeful promise from a powerful new voice in poetry.

Praise for 'Piecemeal'

From the first few lines of the very first poem, you know you’re in the hands of an accomplished poet. Banerji’s work brings a lightness of touch that belies the depth charge of her imagery and the beauty of her language.

Exploring nature, mothers and daughters, longing and belongingness,Piecemeal is tender in places, raw in others. On reading, one feels gently bruised by a master of both form and feeling. This is poetry “So razor fresh. So crocus fresh”. A poet to watch out for.

JP Seabright - poet

Ahana Banerji

Ahana Banerji is a three-time Foyle Young Poet and was a Tower Young Poet in 2020. In 2022, she was the youngest shortlisted poet for the White Review Poet’s Prize. Most recently, her work has been published by Bad Lilies, Zindabad, and Anthropocene. ‘Piecemeal’ is her debut poetry
pamphlet. She is currently studying at Cambridge University.


        after García Lorca


Tonight, Federico is in a fish market.

We study men scabbing scales off salmon,

weighing a pound of cheek against a gavel.

He’s pretending not to notice me.


He’s been trying to fry angelfish in the moon

for the past half an hour. I’ve just found the liver

to tell him this is as possible as bludgeoning freckles

to a son or restoring a voice to sea salt.


The moon, smooth as a sleeping back,

understands the pressure of unseen things

and curves duly. Once, it blared so bright

I thought it was electric.


This secret lives in me like a streetlight:

passed under, spinal, a constant in darkness.

Federico winks at me, angelfish still raw and oily.

Tells me to find my stomach.