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

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