Title: The Devil's Thumbprint
Publisher: Bengal Lights Books
"Ahsan Akbar's poetry is about love and terror, music and desire, memory and the past... It is about the smell of skin or the fear for spiders, the sari of a beloved one or the rhythms of Dire Straits... It contains all the beauty of everyday miracles and the wild joy of being alive."
"In The Devil's Thumbprint we encounter a poet-cartographer, whose heart is a terrorist and whose feet wander everywhere. And while these spare, elegant poems struggle with the quandary of restlessness, they remain rooted firmly in desire"
"... a highly interesting debut collection that bears the stamp of a distinctive, lively and worldly-wise sensibility."
"I love the poems in The Devil's Thumbprint. They're very strong, moving and very clear, which is a big compliment as I often think that poetry is too obtuse and hard to get a handle on."
"The conversational tone of many of these fine poems disguises a subtle technical skill. Ahsan Akbar's is a sophisticated, original and very contemporary voice."
Tariq Ali reciting Tree Without Roots at the UK launch of The Devil's Thumbprint.
Dartmouth House, Mayfair, 4 June 2014.
“Ahsan Akbar’s debut collection is as sharp as a bloodwet knife. The metaphor of love as terrorism, as something simultaneously dangerous—even illicit or illegal—and thrilling, runs through these poems of love and love lost: hearts of rock flinting sparks, bodies breaking apart like continents, and euphemism both dolled up and stripped bare. The Devil’s Thumbprint has more than enough of the true poet’s fingerprints to prove Akbar guilty: he’s a cunning pickpocket of hearts and words. And as of any good thief, I suspect this subtle stick-up is just the first of many heists to come.”
Daily Star, Bangladesh
"It is a whirlwind of truthfulness, a man’s life summarised through his love. The tempo, too, persists throughout, as do the shadows of his lovers – places and people – forever imprinted on his mind, and on these pages."
"Akbar’s incisive wit finds a perfect home in this collection of 34 lively and well-honed poems, which are at times dark, often delightful, and always impeccable. Those about work should be read on the way to the office. Those about longing and desire should be read as the sun dips down and the shadows grow tall. And the irreverent ones should be read over and again at every opportunity."