Poetry

Dilruba Ahmed Reaches for the Beyond In “Bring Now the Angels”

May 20, 2020

The title Bring Now the Angels is as much a God-like order as a human plea. Dilruba Ahmed’s new book-slash-summoning-slash-prayer reckons with expanse as painstakingly as it does limitation. Throughout, it takes on health, mortality, and immigration with disquieting force. The first section of Bring Now the Angels considers the circumstances surrounding the passing of … Read More

Poem: Krishnochura

April 1, 2020

The dull, heavy, clouds of smoke block my fleeting glimpse of the fallen krishnochura flowers. When I was five – a cowering bundle in the backseat of Babu’s stuttering motorbike – He taught me how to tie my helmet and how to differentiate a krishnochura from a radhachura. I barely knew how to separate the … Read More

Poem: Deconstruction

March 2, 2020

a conversation is two mouths made one by a knot of string, strung taut and fluoridated and hamstrung and tasting one singular voice. one mouth indentures of the other to concur with silence as an outturn pidgin emerges. its decreolization subverts the first’s imagery and dreams of deification. the sway of rasa is the theme … Read More

Adeeba Shahid Talukder Brings Urdu and Persian Verses out of Tradition

February 29, 2020

In a word, Adeeba Shahid Talukder’s Kundiman Poetry Prize-winning collection Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved is virtuosic. It sings, thrums with the force of centuries of Urdu and Persian verse. In doing so, it owns the strength of a woman’s voice. In the title poem, Talukder writes, “At December’s end Benazir died / in … Read More

Poem: Nani’s Letter

February 27, 2020

Granddaughter, When I was fourteen, I crossed fourteen rivers, walked to every village that fell under Big Mountain’s shadow, knocking on the door of every medicine woman that knew the mountain rock as her own altar—passing a message, trick of safety, ruse to rouge unmistakable into ordinariness.    They hid their medicine in the rocks of … Read More

Poem: Pushkar

February 14, 2020

She arcs an aural eclipse. Last night, the ashes swallowed us whole; a stream of rajgold bangles parting the brahma ghat, throat full of pink salt, ghazals spilling over the ornate moon’s boheme venture. I, milky meteors, trace your eye-lined courtyards slowly, ever so slowly. To remember the dead orphan who once named djinns after … Read More

2019 in Poems

December 18, 2019

As the year wraps up, I want to highlight five poems by South Asian poets I’ve loved and noted in 2019. I turn to these widely published, critically-acclaimed poets when I find my own budding poet-self stuck within the limitations of needing to write about South Asian identity. These five poems are pure and impassioned. … Read More

Poem: Sajda

December 16, 2019

like bugleweed, my unshaven hair is sprawling into sajda after all these years, these legs i’m still hauling into sajda when i went down on you i accidentally muttered a prayer my back turned to stars still feels like i’m falling into sajda i’m sorry i keep entangling broken verses in your curls it’s just … Read More

Poem: Mutations

December 9, 2019

i have tried to catalogue my own mutation as my body peels gradually away from the place i come from. i cannot recognize this shape anymore, each time i walk on a straight edge it feels like a border, any line becomes a carving of land. i can’t think about the blue of water without … Read More

Talking Identity, History, and Outer Space with Vijay Seshadri

November 20, 2019

I met Vijay Seshadri at Dunkin’ Donuts. We sat in the patio, where a statue that looked like the Virgin Mary watched over us. He wanted to meet at Dunkin’ Donuts because it is a very South Asian franchise. Like motels, like 7/11s, brown people with roots in a mountain-fringed subcontinent tend to stand behind … Read More

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