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Radha Says

The final collection by award-winning poet Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat.

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Annotations of contemporary poetry edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, published by Drunken Boat.


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IMGP4402The launch of Radha Says, the first book published by Drunken Boat Books, wildly exceeded expectation. On the evening of Friday, January 22, the event, which was open to the public, took place on the thirteenth floor of the National Press Club Building in the First Amendment Lounge. The author of this blog post is a new intern, and after getting lost navigating the streets of Washington DC, eventually I showed up at the event thinking that I had missed the beginning. But due to high sales being conducted by Lead Editors Ravi Shankar and Leslie McGrath at the First Amendment entrance, I arrived just in time to do some mingling and even conduct some very intern-style gophering for Ravi.

After an introduction by Ravi, the launch officially kicked off with a prayer led by the Reverend Dr. Denise King-Miller. In addition to her post as Professor at the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, she is an AME Ordinated minister.

Those close to Vazirani read selections from Radha Says, but the most affecting segment of the evening was from Heea, Reetika’s mother, who channeled her daughter’s memory with a heartfelt speech that acknowledged and thanked friends and family. The result was a significant reminder that, beyond the publication of Radha Says, Reetika’s essence not only lives on, but was also actively in attendance at her book launch.

A wonderful turnout

Drunken Boat Lead Editors Ravi Shankar and Leslie McGrath

E. Etheldbert Miller, the prolific literary activist and good friend to the late Reetika Vazirani. Miller was responsible for bringing her final manuscript to the attention of Drunken Boat.

Dorothy Harbeck, federal judge and Reetika Vazirani’s roommate at Wellesley.

Ambassador Connie Morella, who served for eight years in the MD legislature, where she befriended Reetika’s mother, Heea Vazirani Fales

After the launch, guests were treated to a sumptuous reception augmented by fine wine, cheese, and a savory rice and beans entree. 

  While the general consensus was that Reetika would have loved the launch, you also couldn’t deny that the convivial nature between friends, colleagues, and even newcomers such as myself resolutely evoked her presence. Our heartfelt gratitude to the evening’s speakers, as well as the staff of the National Press Club.

You can see more photos from the event here.

Photos by Joe Ramelo, DB Social Media Assistant. Text by Joe Ramelo with Sarah Clark, DB Assistant Managing Editor.

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Published Jan 25, 2010 - Comments Off on At a glance: ‘Radha Says’ book launch

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