A Blizzard in My Bones: New York Poems
ISBN 9-78812-500723 2016 pp.134 Hard
Art and Photographs by
Fran Antman, Andreas Stimm & Sahadev Poudel
A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems is a brilliant and groundbreaking new work focusing on the “first city of the world” by the internationally acclaimed Himalayan poet, Yuyutsu Sharma. Reminiscent of F.G. Lorca, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’ Hara and Carl Sandburg, the poems constitute Sharma’s reflections on what it means for a Himalayan poet to transform to a new creation, a New Yorker. The poet begins the book with a shamanic vision of his grandmother several decades ago, then weaves a family tapestry of a traditional life abandoned as the poet embraces the artist’s life and its ceaseless wanderings around the globe. In an evocative sequence, the poet is sleeping by the Atlantic shore where he envisions his deceased mother getting ready for a marriage that will never take place; and as the poet wakes, he moves from vision to vision as his Himalayan culture collides with the cultures of New York City: a zoo/ of blazing skyline on a moonlit night/and steps into a place / six feet deep, dank, under ocean, omnivorous. Sharma carefully unfolds a tender but triumphant vision of a metropolis that is not a city of any one country, but of the world. Most importantly, as in all of Sharma’s work, A Blizzard in my Bones: New York Poems celebrates a shared, ennobling vision of humanity.
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 Reades 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
Nine New York Poems , subtitled A Blizzard in My Bones, deepens the tourist’s experiences of New York into a spiritual encounter. The collection begins with the ecstasy of disorientation but quickly locates the self in the unknown. Written by a Nepalese poet and trained ascetic, this precise collection of poems combines the pain of homelessness with the joy of traveling.
—World Literature Today, University Of Oklahoma
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, Columbia University, 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
A Blizzard In My Bones is worth the wait. The marriage of eastern angst and western jitters is beautifully realized, both in dreamscapes and in naturalistic description. The sexual suggestiveness is very powerful, as is the evocation of NY place time in all its gritty glory.
—Robert Scotto, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Baruch College, CUNY
Yuyutsu Sharma’s Blizzard in My Bones: New York Poems posits a pair of eyes up in their perch and looking down on the city of New York (and all of America) as they sweep across the pavement and finally settle on bit of muffin left on a table outside of a Starbuck’s. They are poems that look and venture deeply into the mannerisms of a young continent even as they insinuate themselves into a bustling scene. They suspect the “wandering lunatics,” “the basking brown seals,” and the “ceramic cells of Super gurus” stand as markers on this New Found Land, as the eyes behind the poems continue consuming everything on the move.
—Tim Kahl, Poet & Translator, Sacramento
Yuyu is Mona Lisa’s hallucinatory lover… a shaman “chewing Tesco’s vegpledges” on the Tube … a city hopper …who is at home everywhere, exploring urban fields through his Himalayan gaze. The master of observation, of detail, of compassion …Yuyu’s New York poems are full of collisions and intersections, and his verse itself is also multicultural, with echoes of sounds and rhythms of the city… I received the books from India by post. While opening the envelope, the first thing I noticed was the spicy scent coming out of the pages. Then I started reading and couldn’t stop…
—Agnes Marton, Poet, Editor of Estuary: a Confluence of Art and Poetry & Ofi Press(Mexico)