Announcing Yuyutsu Sharma's Nine New York Poems: A Prelude to A Blizzard in My Bones: New York Poems

prelude

‘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
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

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

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

What we have here is the pan / promenade of an Annapurnian poet among the sidewalks of New York. With eastern wisdom, Yuyutsu Sharma dissects the modern city’s multifaceted body, and portrays colliding visions where ancestral meets cutting-edge. As a poet of refined lyricism and a flâneur of his age, Sharma revives the wandering poet’s myth and builds powerful images in a high-voltage and emotional language: “In my chest / I can hear a blizzard / carrying a litany / of ravaged whales, a crude commotion / of water / and winds in spacious streets…”
-Mariela Dreyfus, Peruvian poet, author of Pez

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

In A Blizzard in My Bones, Yuyu Sharma reveals the divide that exists inside the professional traveler, who, though he must learn to be at home everywhere, finds he is no longer completely at home anywhere. Invited to ride alongside Sharma’s wanderer, we see from the inside out how he compares his worlds, one to another, trying to make sense of the new ones based on the sense of the old. When the gap remains, however, just wide enough to prevent easy passage back and forth, he is left to wrestle all his concurrent lives into one integrated, harmonious whole, perhaps at the cost of losing “the solemn silence of the sacred sounds
Susan Keiser, Key West scriptwriter and traveler

EL AL: Streets of Manhattan: Yuyutsu Sharma's Column on New York City

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Streets of Manhattan
Musings on New York’s ability to embrace all
Added At: 2013-09-28 10:46 PM Last Updated At: 2013-09-28 10:46 PM

Fifth Avenue

YUYUTSU RD SHARMA
KATHMANDU:

Your name

like your yogurt kisses

I long to forget

in the boulevards of NYC’s

alphabet avenues

Your kisses

like your cherry mouth

sings Starbucks songs

of winds stirred by flames

of freedom.

(Your Name, A Blizzard in my Bones)

“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless,” says Simone Beauvoir about the vital bustle the mega city. For over a year, I have been working on the manuscript of my New York poems, entitled, A Blizzard in My Bones. The very energy of the city is electrifying in a special way, making you go back to it, and walk its bistros, boulevards and shores, even when you are away, far, far away.

The first time I went there, I had fortune of living in Greenwich Village where legendary John Lennon “regretted profoundly” that he “was not born in”.

Back home as the Kathmandu Valley rivers swelled from incessant monsoons, I have been walking the suburbs, working long hours in small tea shops over my notes on this city of cities where, in words of Groucho Marx, “Practically everybody … has half a mind to write a book — and does.”

In the winter of 2012, I also had the leisure of walking the numbered streets of Manhattan with my manuscript in mind, hanging out with fellow poets, spending time in art places, libraries and spacious bookstores. Often, I went to share my works at local NYC poetry venues, and read almost everything I could lay my hands on —memoirs, poetry, stories, reports along with all time favourites like Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Lunch Poems, even recent books on the city, including, Salman Rushdie’s Fury and Deborah Landau’s The Last Usable Hour.

One of the first few books I had read about the city remains Maxim Gorky’s The City of the Yellow Demon. The book had clouded my vision of the city for a long time. Gorky sees New York as a bleak underworld without a glint of happiness, a working class hell. However, landing in New York, I was amazed to find a very different world. What I saw was not a dreary dungeon, but as Salvador Dali pointed out “an Egypt turned inside out. For she erected pyramids of slavery to death, and you erect pyramids of democracy with the vertical organ-pipes of your skyscrapers all meeting at the point of infinity of liberty!”

Another crucial book I found by chance in a Greenwich Village cafe was Federico Garcia Lorca’s Poet in New York City. Again, I had difficulty in dealing with Lorca’s surreal accounts the city emptied of any spirituality, “a city that doesn’t sleep”. Lorca presents the metropolis as a brutal place where every day “they slaughter/four million ducks,/five million hogs,/two thousand pigeons to accommodate the tastes of the dying,/one million cows,/one million lambs,/and two million roosters/that smash the sky to pieces”.

Could I too write on this city in a similar vein? Just because it is customary for poets to be critical of the cities and civilisations? Shall I lash the city that has become a refuge for million nationalities from every corner of the world, including the American people from every State?

Over the years, my stay in New York City had given me different impressions. While working on my take on it, I could see how today the Cold War bias was uncalled for, almost irrational. I could not but celebrate this glorious city’s status as previously I had celebrated the Himalayas. The Himalayas are nature-made and New York man-made, humanity’s triumph. For that is what hopefully in the coming decades humanity would turn into, if it evolves from tribal, narrow visions.
Nyc cityscape
“Make your mark in New York,” wrote Mark Twain, “and you are a made man.” Last year I reached the city a week before the Hurricane Sandy hit the West Coast and a month before notorious New Town massacre. I had expected the worst, the whole island upside down, civilian life disrupted. Due to nasty road expansion work and chaos in my own Himalayan metropolis, I had sore memories seething in my mind. Due to the hurricane, my NYU assignments were postponed for a couple of weeks and I had to prolong my stopover in London.

After a fortnight as I reached the city, I found everything in order. Eager, I looked for the signs the calamity might have caused. Like a child, I ran in the spacious streets of Manhattan and took E Train to Brooklyn. All I got was some stray narratives of the Sandy-hit areas in few poetry readings. So quickly, the Sandy catastrophe had turned into a thing of the past. People talked how there was no electricity for a few days and one of my poet friends said she had to go all the way to affluent Uptown to get a hot cup of coffee.

On my way back on subway past midnight, I went laughing all the way. I had left the Valley where 18 hours of power-cuts has become a norm. Our children have grown up groping in the darkness of a republic-in-the-making that has not been able to find a focus. They have become used to the drone of maddening power generators and the clouds of dusts of hovering over the streets ripped apart and left bleeding like permanent wounds. Day to day civilian suffering along with rampant corruption has left a permanent scar on the face of Nepali polity.

Of course, you expect quick action from a First World nation, one could argue, and there’s nothing to be surprised if things had come back to normal. That’s not the only reason that makes you celebrate the city of the blazing skyline. New York is a place where humanity has evolved. No matter where you come from, you are welcomed there the morning you arrive. All you have to do is imbibe the free spirit of a New Yorker. “One belongs to New York instantly,” discerns Tom Wolfe, “one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

To the rest of the world, it might seem different. If ever the humanity evolves into a place of ultimate coexistence, that’s what it would look like, a New York. What to talk of Europe and Americas, we know how in our own subcontinent, in cities like Kathmandu, Mumbai or New Delhi, in the inner circles the outsiders are looked upon with suspicion and distrust. Our cities have a long history of ostracising and humiliating outsiders. The literatures in vernacular languages of the subcontinent are full of such tribal assaults of our so-called “barbarous civilisations”. That’s why one wonders, wasn’t it along such lines of logic Walt Whitman had to shout, “Give me such shows — give me the streets of Manhattan!”

Your smile

like your bright eyes

stays calm as stars

over blue Atlantic waters.

Your eyes

like your dolphin heart

beats frantic

in the numbered streets

of Manhattan.

Your heart mind

reading horoscopes

of my life’s withered leaf

aflutter in the dark streets

of your city.

(Your Name, A Blizzard in my Bones)

(The writer can be reached at yuyutsurd@yahoo.com)
NEW yORK

American Poet David Austell Reading at Jani Rose Gallery, New Jersey

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David Austell reading from Garuda and Other Poems of Astral Plains to his New Jersey Audience at Jani Rose Art Gallery.
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DAVID B. AUSTELL (United States) grew up in the southern part of the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, his love of poetry growing from deep roots: from his mother who sent poetry, sacred and secular, to him all through college with her letters, and from his father who read Shakespeare and Coleridge to him as a child. He completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he also completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education focusing on International Education. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education focusing on International Education (his dissertation, The Birds in the Rich Forest, concerned Chinese students in the United States during the Student Democracy Movement). In 1992, he was a Fulbright grantee in Korea and Japan. He is currently the Executive Director of the Office of Global Services at New York University in New York City where he is also an adjunct Associate Professor of International Education in the NYU Steinhardt School His first book of poetry, Little Creek, was published in January 2011 by Nirala Press, and his second volume, Garuda (also published by Nirala), was released in March 2012. David’s poetry has also appeared in Infusion Magazine, and in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow.
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Distinguished Poet David Austell to read at Jani Rose Gallery, Summit, NY

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A Reading from
TIN MAN
& Other Poems
By David B Austell
March 7th
Thurseday,
at Jani Rose Gallery
MONDO Summit – 426 Springfield Avenue, Summit, NJ
6-9 pm Thursday, March 7
Microsoft Word - THE TIN MAN POSTER FOR READING AT MONDO SUMMIT
Distinguished American Poet shall read from his new book due out in 2014!
He shall also sign copies of his previously published book, Garuda and Little Creek

DR. DAVID B. AUSTELL (United States) grew up in the southern part of the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, his love of poetry growing from deep roots: from his mother who sent poetry, sacred and secular, to him all through college with her letters, and from his father who read Shakespeare and Coleridge to him as a child. He completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he also completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education focusing on International Education. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education focusing on International Education (his dissertation, The Birds in the Rich Forest, concerned Chinese students in the United States during the Student Democracy Movement). In 1992, he was a Fulbright grantee in Korea and Japan. He is currently the Executive Director of the Office of Global Services at New York University in New York City where he is also an adjunct Associate Professor of International Education in the NYU Steinhardt School His first book of poetry, Little Creek, was published in January 2011 by Nirala Press, and his second volume, Garuda (also published by Nirala), was released in March 2012. David’s poetry has also appeared in Infusion Magazine, and in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow.