Publication date: 26th January 2023
DCF: Poetry Collections
Cover artwork by Zarina @ZarinaStudio
After All We Have Travelled, the debut poetry collection by Sarala Estruch, is a distinctive journey across time, continents and cultures, through memory and generations of family history, exploring the long legacies of empire and its personal and political effects. It is a story of intergenerational trauma, grief and disconnection, but it is also a story of the enduring power of love, of connection, and of embarking into motherhood.
Combining elements of memoir, biography, and fiction with formal and experimental poetry, Estruch’s work explores the losses incurred by forbidden interracial and intercultural marriage, and is a potent reclamation of voice, story, and mixed-race identity. An important, compelling collection, it asks: What or who is family? What or where is home? And like the modern rose – a hybrid species with origins spanning the globe – to where do we return?
Praise for After All We Have Travelled:
“Sarala Estruch in After All We Have Travelled unspools a cross-continental family history, and invites us in to share a story at once familiar and unique. What is most striking throughout is the clarity and vividness of the pictures she makes from distant memories, and the tug of conflicting, barely spoken emotions as she moves between countries, the now and the past, in language that is simple, elegant and always beguiling. If you’ve ever felt unmoored or adrift from your family – or even yourself – the poems here will help to ground you; in their lens they see you, see all of us.” - Rishi Dastidar
“After All We Have Travelled is a book of journeys and legacies, turnings and travails, which introduces us to a consummate storyteller, a poet of layers and depths. Sarala Estruch is unafraid of the fissures, the kinks, the binds, involved in piecing together one’s identity as a poet of mixed race and multiple heritages, through the fraught gifts of language. These poems dive into the pools of longstanding grief, of loss and estrangement across generations and continents. At once formally original and tremendously moving, this book charts the transformation of ‘a mouth / drowned at high tide’ who fights her way back up to air, learning to speak – and sing – again.” – Sarah Howe
“After All We Have Travelled follows a young woman discovering her own complex history across cultures and languages, religions and lost histories. Where family mythologies meet silence, memory gives an emotive reasoning, singing into the void left by death and distance, using the lyric voice of self-making. This book charts a new terrain, a multiplicity of being mapped for future generations whose relationship to home is as yet unknown to its forebears.” – Sandeep Parmar
“Sarala Estruch makes poems in whose shifting formal permutations the lyric is “at times a relief/ at other times intolerable”, in part because multiple time frames – generations flowing backwards from the poet’s children – are held together in the same shot, an image of unity ruptured by the punctum of the experiencing ‘I’. Language is a “cork, plug, stopper”, but the stoppered world is always about to burst through. So these poems overlap and speak – or relate – to each other endlessly, modelling a morally complex, temporally fluid, lyric approach to the family.” – Will Harris
Sarala Estruch is a British writer, poet, and researcher. After All We Have Travelled is her debut full-length poetry collection. Her pamphlet Say (flipped eye, 2021) was a Poetry School Book of The Year and was described as an ‘extraordinary debut’ by the Poetry Book Society. A finalist of the Primers mentorship scheme and a fellow of the Ledbury Poetry Critics programme, her poetry, creative non-fiction, and reviews have been widely published in outlets including The Poetry Review, Wasafiri, and The Guardian, and featured on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. Sarala is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Liverpool, where she is a recipient of the JIC Davies Studentship. She lives in London.
Photograph credit: Alan Howard