Reetika Vazirani: Poetry Event

Jan 15, 2010, 10:23 ET from The Editors of Drunken Boat

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Please join us at the National Press Club of Friday, January 22nd at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the launch of preeminent Indian American poet Reetika Vazirani's Radha Says. This title is the first in Drunken Boat's international online journal of the arts new list of books and includes poems that have been published in such journals as Prairie Schooner, The Kenyon Review and Callaloo.  One of the most influential poets of her generation, Vazirani won the Barnard Women Poets Prize, a Discovery/The Nation Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Poets & Writers Exchange Program Award, fellowships from Bread Loaf and Sewanee, the Glenna Luschei/Prairie Schooner Award for her essay "The Art of Breathing" and she had a poem anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2000.

The author of two poetry collections, White Elephants and World Hotel (Copper Canyon Press, 2002), Vazirani was a contributing and advisory editor for Shenandoah, a book review editor for Callaloo, a Henry Hoyns fellow at the University of Virginia where she got her MFA and a senior poetry editor for Catamaran, a journal of South Asian literature. She translated poetry from Urdu and some of her poems were translated into Italian.  As Jane Alberdeston Corlain writes about her work, "For weeks, White Elephants became my ritual; I was immersed, drugged, hypnotized by the arcs of beauty in her text, the wonderfully enigmatic ways she structured a line, a breath."  This new collection is unprecedented and raw, some of the poems written weeks and days before she passed away.  This launch will celebrate her life and work as well as testify to the love of a mother for her daughter.

As Reetika wrote, "I have no end of gratitude for my lucky circumstances, having studied with poets so squarely rooted in the English tradition, and who brought to it influences which are changing the language from their own old and varied traditions."  In Radha Says, the speaker of the poems casts herself in the role of mythic Indian heroine and consort of Krishna, Radha, the epitome of the Indian female.  Yet she explodes the constricting image by modernizing her and giving her all the vestments of a contemporary psychological and aesthetic personality.  These poems sear the mind and offer powerful testimony to the lasting power of myth and the limiting notions of race and gender propagated in this culture.

SOURCE The Editors of Drunken Boat