Sunday, February 28, 2016

New York based American poet, Michael Graves on "Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems"

In their panoramic sweep, headlong rushing catalogues, visionary moments, their courage and  compassion, numinous imagery, and beautiful music, Yuyutsu Sharma’ Quaking Cantos are worthy of comparison to “The Sleepers” of Whitman. 

These poems will shake the attentive reader like the quakes they witness. In the dramatic immediacy of their confrontation with the cosmos and powers beyond comprehension or control—powers that seem to have gone utterly mad--they recreate the terror and terrible beauty of what Rudolf Otto has called “The Holy. 

As one small example of the flood Sharma provides, consider the conclusion of “A Burning Sun”: in which for a moment a woman has left her baby kicking alone, outside playfully at the eye of heaven:

And it hit again,
the second time, right there,
burying her shoulder
deep under a pile
of mud and damp bricks,

leaving her son
bare and howling
in the bleeding eye
of the growling sun.

Michael Graves, author of Outside St. Jude’s Adam and Cain, Illegal Border Crosser and In Fragility

German Writer & Journalist Eckhart Nickel on Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems

"We cannot leave the reconstruction of the damage done by the earthquake to the conservators alone. Yuyutsu Sharma turns the devastation into vivid poetry to humanize the pain and revive the gracious dignified and loving spirit of the Nepali people in a moment of insurmountable grief, preserving the majestic and mystical ambiance of their ancient artifacts"
 Eckhart Nickel, 
German Writer & Journalist

Saturday, February 27, 2016

American Poet David Austell on Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems by Yuyutsu Sharma

There are several things immediately noticeable in Yuyu Sharma’s very powerful Quaking Cantos. The poetic form is fairly unusual (the poems are jagged and rapid fire), and even when you bind the short lines tightly in couplets, this does not relieve the feel of sharp edges. There is a great deal of fractured enjambment, for example The earth/opened up/ her jaws   (from “Nipple”) to the point that the poems themselves seem broken. This is highly successful and effective given the very difficult subject matter. Yuyu’s approach to the challenge of form in the Cantos is that of a master. The anger and grief expressed from poem to poem (and even within poems) pop up very quickly then subside like an aftershock. The reader is then often left with some indelible image: a crying lamb, a grandmother who has just died, a baby searching for the sustenance of a mother’s breast. The poetic form certainly enhances this, but it is the images, which are so electric. These are wonderful, troubling, and moving poems.  It must have drained Yuyu to the core to write of such catastrophe.

— Dr. David Austell, Columbia University, New York