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Mimi Khalvati

Khalvati at the British Library in 2011
Khalvati at King's College London Shakespeare Festival February 2016

Mimi Khalvati is an Iranian-born British poet.

Life and career

She was born in Tehran, Iran in 1944. She grew up on the Isle of Wight and was educated in Switzerland at the University of Neuchâtel, and in London at the Drama Centre and the School of Oriental and African Studies.

She then worked as a theatre director in Tehran, translating from English into Persian and devising new plays, as well as co-founding the Theatre in Exile group.

She now lives in London Borough of Hackney, and is a Visiting Lecturer at Goldsmiths College and a director of the London Poetry School.

Khalvati was 47 when her first book appeared in 1991.[1] Its title, In White Ink, derives from the work of Hélène Cixous who claimed that women in the past have written "in white ink". Michael Schmidt observes that Khalvati is "formally a most resourceful poet".[2]

Khalvati is the founder of The Poetry School, running poetry workshops and courses in London, and is co-editor of the school's first two anthologies of new writing: Tying the Song and Entering The Tapestry. She is also tutor at the Arvon Foundation, and has taught creative writing at universities and colleges in the United States of America and Britain.


  • In White Ink (Carcanet Press,1991)
  • Mirrorwork (Carcanet Press, 1995)
  • Entries on Light (Carcanet Press, 1997)
  • Selected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2000)
  • The Chine (Carcanet Press, 2002)
  • The Meanest Flower (Carcanet Press, 2007)
  • Child: new and selected poems 1991-2011


  • "There is some poetry in the universe, in the world we live in. What poets do is to first be alive to it, and awake and receptive to it, and in love with it – I think it has a lot to do with love – and then have the wherewithal to translate that poetry that’s out there into poems, so, for me it’s an act of listening and of translating into heard and written language." [3]


  1. ^ Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, p. 858. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2007.
  2. ^ Schmidt, Michael: Lives of the Poets, p. 859.
  3. ^ ""The Weather Wheel": An interview with Mimi Khalvati".

Further reading

  • Kociejowski, Marius. God's Zoo: Artists, Exiles, Londoners (Carcanet, 2014) contains a biographical chapter "Tehran in Stoke Newington - Mimi Khalvati, Vuillard and the Stone of Patience".

External links