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8/18/2017 12:28:05 AM

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  • POET: Yuyutsu Sharma (8/18/2017 12:30:00 AM)

    ‘Yuyutsu Sharma’s new collection is concerned with notions of home and being away in the exotic elsewhere. Home strikes deep, like ‘my grandma / asleep // on a plump / bubble // of a folk song’ but is then flung into the great proper nouns of New York, all detail, all observation and dazzle. The poems are registered at the tips of the eyes then connected with the sense of deep home. That is where the power lies. It emerges through ear and mouth as a kind of cosmopolitan love letter.’

    George Szirtes, British Poet, winner of Faber Memorial Prize & T.S. Eliot Prize

    ‘Yuyutsu Sharma, a Himalayan poet who studied his craft in the United States and on the mule paths of high Himalayas has brought a visionary sensibility to his New York poems. They read like Federico Garcia Lorca having a Hindu dream, or like Allen Ginsberg risen from the dead and howling out a peyote vision for 2013. Their ambition, like Lorca’s in his Poet in New York or like Hart Crane’s in his New York epic, The Bridge, is to write an epic vision of the city–and ultimately of America–in linked lyrics. Here are the Twin Towers flaming like the red tongue of Kali, goddess of destruction, a city like a yellow-eyed demon, Hurricane Sandy burrowing into the island’s groin like a furious porcupine. Sharma is “a shaman…black bag bulging / from magical rainbows, / serpents from an Hindu Heaven, / skull of an abducted female Yeti, ” and he casts spells in these strange, visionary, outrageous and magical poems.’

    Tony Barnstone, The Albert Upton Professor and Chair of English, Whittier College, Author/Translator of Everyman’s Chinese Erotic Poems
    If Langston Hughes, Federico García Lorca and Frank O’Hara were exhumed to rub their recollections of New York City together over dal and black tea, they might produce a manuscript as rapturous as Yuyutsu Sharma’s love letter to the five boroughs. Infused with the mythology of Sufi saints and Hindu deities, Blizzard Go Delhi is nonetheless utterly contemporary, juxtaposing Duane Reedes and Occupy Wall Streeters alongside Punjabi wheat fields and muscular Halwai-confectioners working over huge cauldrons of oil. Unrepentant in its sensuality, self-assured and visionary, Sharma’s book is an extravagant tour de force that shows us that stepping off the train into New York City is to enter a realm “of wandering winter spirits and wavering speeches…a bedlam vision of a bedroom utopia that tries very hard every night to find a partner of sleep.” Tries, but thankfully for us, fails and instead stays up to channel the manic, long-limbed energy of the city in this memorable and original verbal jazz solo. This book is a poetic triumph.

    -Ravi Shankar, Executive Director of Drunken Boat, author of seven books/chapbooks of poetry & co-editor of W.W. Norton & Co.’s Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from Asia, the Middle East & Beyond

    “A Blizzard in My Bones, ” Yuyu’s deeply moving new collection and a remarkable addition to modern urban literature. It is Nepal and Hinduism and Brooklyn and Manhattan and Greenwich Village drawn together in a new Space Cake: Amsterdam; but here the hallucinogen-stoked celebration is amid the concrete and steel heights of Metropolis.

    David Austell, Professor, NYU, Author of Little Creek and Other Poems

    Capacious and wild, offering itself energetically to contrasting continents and sensibilities, Sharma’s ambitious and honest New York collection offers a vivid tribute to Lorca, its presiding muse.

    Annie Finch, winner of Robert Fitzgerald Award and author of Spells: New and Selected Poems.

    The ‘blinding snows of the Annapurnas ridge’ inspire a poetry that confronts natural magnificence with exuberant humanity. Yuyutsu R D Sharma’s generous vision embraces not only the landscape and its people but the lesser fauna, like the pigeons that speak ‘a kind of hushed speech that robbers might use’ and the mules on the Tibetan salt route, exhausted and bow-legged from hauling ‘cartons of Iceberg, mineral water bottles, / solar heaters, Chinese tiles, tin cans…’ These vividly coloured, muscular and energetic poems have an atmosphere of freshness, as though the snow itself had rinsed and brightened them. Like the ‘waterfall beds that/ smelled of the birth of fresh fish’, they have the tangy, dust-free odour of language born of lived experience.

    Carol Rumens, The United Kingdom

    Formed by 20th century South Asian and North American poetry movements and himself a verbal renewer of his country’s literature, Yuyutsu indefatigably writes along rivers and paths, mountains, valleys and villages, verse after verse…

    Dr. Christoph Emmrich

    South and Southeast Asian Buddhism at the University of Toronto.

    Yuyutsu is the poet of the Himalayas, he lives near Everest, but that does not stop him from walking along canals of the European cities, creating an interesting interface between East and West. In Amsterdam’s shops instead of window dolls, he sees Hindu goddesses and in the radiance of the North Sea, the faces of Indian children dancing in the Monsoons. His poems are universal, fuelled by enormous powers of observation and reflection, able to reach the essence of things with the depth of great masters of the Eastern poetry.

    Veronica Aranda in Preface to Poemas de Los Himalayas

    Yuyutsu RD Sharma brings the bracing airs of the Himalayas to any city. His vigorous, expansive and elemental poems leave Yeti tracks on the streets and mule trails on the Tube. They are packed with rapturous couplings of the urban and the feral.

    Pascale Petit, Former Poetry Editor, Poetry London
    Pascale Petit, Former Poetry Editor, Poetry London

    “To do justice to the landscapes and peoples of the highest mountains in the world requires a sensitivity and skill not given to all of us. Andreas Stimm and Yuyutsu R. D. Sharma have succeeded, in this trilogy of photographs and poems, in bringing to life an extraordinary region in all its striking beauty and natural harmony. The unique combination of their photographic and poetic skills succeeds in laying bare the very soul of the Himalayas, the smiling warmth of its inhabitants and its dramatically beautiful peaks and valleys. Each page transports you to a magical and timeless world which, alas, is condemned slowly to disappear as modernization, new roads, and environmental degradation combine to depopulate these remote areas.”
    His Excellency Mr. Keith George Bloomfield, Former British Ambassador to Nepal

    A fiercely sublime poet …the book confirms an enormous talent, as well as purity of purpose with which he approaches his calling. Lines jump out, burning themselves into your consciousness.

    Eddie Woods in Amsterdam Weekly

    With this buoyantly audacious work, Yuyutsu RD should be assured of his place in the canon of Asian poetry… In this new volume, he conveys the people and places, the flora and fauna of the Annapurna area of Nepal with an exhilaratingly fresh vision. It is poetry where pastoral elegy becomes fused with magic realism; where earthy common-sense mysticism becomes interlaced with a lush sexuality. The book is a voluptuous and loving evocation of Nepal and I admire its dramatic intensity.

    Cathal O Searcaigh, Ireland

    Yuyutsu is a first-rate poet in English and an excellent place to begin if you want to get in touch with Nepalese writing today.

    William Seaton, in Bylines Interview

    Yuyutsu’s subject is the intertwinement of the social and geographic, namely, how even the Himalayas were dirtied and damaged by partisan politics. In the poems, sacred energy appears in sexual, rather than theological, form; his incredibly tangy descriptions of crags and cliff faces swell with eroticism.

    Jim Feast in The Brooklyn Rail, New York

    Each poem is a delight in itself, a discovery, a new turn of phrase, a new sensation, a world of sound and light, and visions all colliding against each other to provide an unexpected and haunting experience.

    David Clark in Exiled Ink, London

    Yuyutsu RD lives close to Everest. His poetry climbs mountains, swims in rivers, and paints the falling leaves in copper. This tango with nature also occurs when Yuyutsu RD closes the window for a moment…

    Ronny Someck in Iton77, Tel Aviv

    The poems… are shining jewels of passion, energy and splendid craft, redolent with vivid, dreamlike visual imagery, strengthened by realistic observation and powered by strong male eroticism. His is an unabashed return to the male gaze that is refreshing and solemn by turns, reminding one of the stirring sounds of rolling drums, and beating rain…

    Sucheta Das Gupta in The Himalayan Times, Kathmandu

    “Something is always happening in Yuyutsu’s poetry. Like some burning concern for truth, something that, I think, a poem should do. For this, we owe Yuyutsu much.

    Jayanta Mahapatra, Cuttack, India

    Young, versatile energetic, he is rocking and rolling with new impressions… Yuyutsu’s poetry touches on concerns of global matters, acknowledging that we can never with violence create a Utopia or “construct a gorgeous pagoda from/furious flames/and whistling winds … Such lines capture for me the futility of the Iraq War, which I refuse to dignify with its official title, even more euphemistic and tainted with doublethink than earlier misadventures. We can’t build even a humble pagoda from furious flames and whistling winds.

    David Ray, The United States of America

    Yuyutsu R.D. brings to the Indian readers a distinct flavor of the Nepalese landscape and culture, in a sequence of poems that pulsate with needle-sharp images—Equally sensitive is his language that, scrupulously avoids stilted diction-words or phrases. His writing is so densely imagistic that he holds reader’s attention all the way through. Behind plethora of packed images is a genuine concern for the human predicament the trials and tribulations of the destitute everywhere. Hunger is the theme that runs as an under current-hunger that gnaws into the vitals of both humans and animals.

    Shiv K. Kumar in The Hindustan Times

    Yuyutsu has a good eye and a good ear:

    The rain stopped in the jungle.

    The cicada stopped its chirr.

    To have an ear for a sudden silence in unique.

    Keki N. Daruwala in The Hindustan Times

    Yuyutsu’s poetry has long been a part of the Nepalese consciousness: We use his more aphoristic lines as a paradigm of contemporary Nepali political and social changes.

    The Kathmandu Post

    Yuyutsu RD Sharma’s poetry runs clear, tender, and passionate with a rage that often erupts volcanic in the face of the cruelty, despair, and injustice that saddles the disenfranchised poor of the earth. Poems powerful and devastating, yet gentle as flower petals wafting to earth in a summer breeze.

    Michael Annis

    This is what Asiaweek has to say of Yuyutsu’s translations of Nepali poetry:
    ‘… magnificent achievement evoking lives of Nepalese peasants while remaining highly readable… The reader will come away breathless from these short, wonderfully concentrated poems’

    These vivid and readable translations show the poets coming to terms both with political development and with the influence of Western modernism in literature
    — Allen W. Thrasher, Library of Congress, Washington DC

    “Ten: The New Indian Poets is an anthology featuring ten talented and diverse Indian poets: five men and five women writing in English about life in India. Each author’s unique writing style paints a different picture of India. The poems range from heartbreaking to hopeful and showcase some of the very best contemporary poets India has to offer.”
    World Literature Today, University of Oklahoma