Garuda & New Poems of Astral Planes
David B. Austell
ISBN 978-8182500785 2016 Hard pp.76 Rs.495
From Garuda to Saluda (that is, from the Hindu man-bird deity to a tiny town in North Carolina), David Austell’s new collection explores recurring themes of masculine identities and human complexities with precision and grace. This poetic world is one of unerring attention to tight image and emotional nuance, with a sometimes terrifying undercurrent of recurrent meanings drawn from a wide range of cultural allusions, all shared by a guide whose capacious voice can contain both deep mysteries and no small dash of humor. Austell shows us the unforgettable feel of the club of young adolescent “He-men” on a quest for a secret stream; a southern woman looking back to the Dixieland of ambiguities of raced, gendered, and classed expectations; the dangerously aching erotics of the male gaze or the musical score. The final long poem “The Final Pitch on Olympus Mons” is an utter tour de force of baseball, poetics, science fiction, and a shiveringly unstable encounter with absolute Otherness. Not many volumes of poetry are real page-turners as well as perfect pitches: this one is.
-Dr. Meg Harper Glucksman Professor of Contemporary Writing in English University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland David B. Austell, Ph.D. is Associate Provost and Director of the International Students and Scholars Office at Columbia University in New York City. The Tin Man is David’s third published book of poetry.