Announcing acclaimed poet, performer, professor and editor, Ravi Shankar’s new book, “Deepening Groove”, winner of the 2010 National Poetry Review Prize and hailed by Connecticut Poet Laureate Dick Allen as the work of “one of America’s finest younger poets.” Poems from the collection have been featured by the Academy of American Poets and have appeared in such journals as Blackbird, Barrow Street, Fulcrum, The Mississippi Review and Slope.
Ravi Shankar is founding editor and Executive Director of Drunken Boat, one of the world’s oldest electronic journals of the arts, and Co-Director of Creative Writing at Central Connecticut State University. He has published five other books and chapbooks. Along with Tina Chang and Natalie Handal, he edited W.W. Norton’s “Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from Asia, the Middle East & Beyond,” called “a beautiful achievement for world literature” by Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer. He has won a Pushcart Prize, a Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant, appeared in the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and has performed his work around the world, including on NPR and on the BBC. He currently teaches in Fairfield University’s MFA Program and in the first international MFA Program at City University of Hong Kong.
Shankar is available to do readings, lectures and classroom visit. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The poems in ‘Deepening Groove’ proceed in elegant triplets that drift effortlessly down the page on waves of sound, serenely self-confident. The subjects are animals, trees, flowers, fish, the weather, and the human condition, all mixed up in a heady stew that simmers quietly one minute, and shimmers brightly the next. This is a book of savvy, delicious surprises.”
-Wyn Cooper, author of Chaos is the New Calm
“In ‘Deepening Groove,’ Ravi Shankar’s poems are small wonders of defining, seeing, and sound. He is a poet fascinated with transformations and here are shiftings of dust and sand, loon calls, flutterings of insects, changing tides and splendid cascades always information-driven, often rapturous with Hopkins-like intensities, imperatives, and trochaic stresses. What I’m most taken by is how the poems both see and feel simultaneously: In ‘Dark,’ “Darkness in New England has a flavor close / to anise, a texture plush as peat moss.” In ‘Bats,’ the bats’ flight is “carrying away pieces of us, / a maelstrom too faint to see, turning to ellipsis.” In virtually all these poems, to quote words from ‘Willard Pond,’ there is “a sense // that the distance between the alternate / universes humans” [and other creatures on Earth] “inhabit is smaller / than ever imagined and more astonishing.” And although the poems give special pleasures on first encounters, they contain as in ‘The Oyster’- “secrets that require / a knife to pry open and vinegar to serve.” ‘Deepening Groove’ shows Ravi Shankar is truly, now, one of America’s finest younger poets.”
—Dick Allen, Connecticut State Poet Laureate and author of Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Selected
Though our typos lately would suggest otherwise
Bernadette Mayer. Form-bending New York poet, and the inspiration for Drunken Boat’s Bernadette Mayer Folio, coming this summer. Not Bernadette Geyer (see above).
The Way to Keep Going in Antarctica, by Bernadette Mayer
Be strong Bernadette
Nobody will ever know
I came here for a reason
Perhaps there is a life here
Of not being afraid of your own heart beating
Do not be afraid of your own heart beating
DB’s 2011 Million Writer’s Award Nominations
“Me and Brigitte (Bardot)” by Brigit Kelly Young
When I met Brigitte Bardot she was twenty-six and firm as ice. She wore a gingham dress, navy blue and off-white, and it sashayed off her calves as she moved toward me to extend a tiny tanned hand with nails filed into ten sharp-edged squares. “Hello Brigitte,” I said. “I’m Brigit.” My nails were different lengths, some nibbled off.
“Brigit I am so beautiful,” she said right away. “It is not just the layout of my face,” she began, “but the way it pouts and slides like a serpent into the crotch of your pants.” Brigitte held a cigarette in one hand and swigged it like a Guinness, her head thrown slightly back. “It is the way I hold it. Like my face is the Sphinx of Egypt, hard in place, never letting loose for,” with her cigarette-free hand she flicked her honey hair beyond her shoulder and formed an angry smile, “even a moment.” She bowed her head. Hairs flitted off her lips as she spoke. “It is nice to meet with you.”
“Nebraska, 2008” by Emily Eiselein
When Kathy woke she decided that this was the day that what had been hers would be no longer. It was still dark outside, and cold. She crept into Eugene’s room, pulling her sweater close, and felt with her fingertips along the edge of the bureau his father had built years ago. She was surprised the sweet smell of cedar still lingered. She glanced at Eugene, sleeping there. A sliver of light from the hallway lit up his jaw clenched in sleep and the first wisps of an adolescent beard. But he’s just a boy—she felt her heart beat right through her sweater and made herself look away. She slowly inched open the top dresser drawer.
“Care and Feeding” by Karin Gottshall
Margaret gave birth to the octopus in a wading pool in her own apartment. The midwife, who thought she’d seen everything and nearly had, took it in stride. It had been an easy birth. The creature had come out head first, a boneless mass that they at first mistook for an intact caul. No umbilical cord to cut. No blood, no squalling. He was the size of a loosely closed fist, or the bloom of a peony. He rested at the bottom of the pool, one flexible arm looping softly around Margaret’s left ankle like a long pearl necklace, and looked up at the two women through trusting, amber eyes. Next thing they knew he was climbing out of the pool, reaching for the midwife’s medical bag.
“Oh no you don’t,” she said, gently prying his sucker discs from the leather handle. She filled the tub in the bathroom and corralled the octopus, closing the door behind her. “I guess you’ll have to exchange that crib for a tank,” the midwife said, nodding toward the corner of the studio apartment Margaret had designated as the nursery.
Idea: George Manak
Editing: Peter van der Ham