|Enter the 2011
|Winner of the 2009 National
Poetry Review Book Prize
by Ravi Shankar
|"The poems in Deepening Groove proceed
in elegant triplets that drift effortlessly down the page on waves of sound, serenely
self-confident. The subjects are animals, trees, flowers, fish, the weather, and the human
condition, all mixed up in a heady stew that simmers quietly one minute, and shimmers
brightly the next. This is a book of savvy, delicious surprises."
In Deepening Groove, Ravi Shankars poems are small wonders of defining, seeing, and sound. He is a poet fascinated with transformations and here are shiftings of dust and sand, loon calls, flutterings of insects, changing tides and splendid cascades always information-driven, often rapturous with Hopkins-like intensities, imperatives, and trochaic stresses. What Im most taken by is how the poems both see and feel simultaneously: In Dark, Darkness in New England has a flavor close / to anise, a texture plush as peat moss. In Bats, the bats flight is
carrying away pieces of us, / a maelstrom too faint to see, turning to ellipsis . In virtually all these poems, to quote words from Willard Pond, there is a sense // that the distance between the alternate / universes humans [and other creatures on Earth] inhabit is smaller / than ever imagined and more astonishing. And although the poems give special pleasures on first encounters, they containas in The Oystersecrets that require / a knife to pry open and vinegar to serve. Deepening Groove shows Ravi Shankar is truly, now, one of Americas finest younger poets.
|Ravi Shankar is Executive
Director of Drunken Boat and Co-Director of the Creative Writing Program at
Central Connecticut State University. His first full length book was Instrumentality
(Word Press, 2004). Along with Tina Chang and Nathalie Handal, he edited Language for
a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from Asia, the Middle East & Beyond (W.W.
Norton & Co.). He has appeared in the New York Times and the Chronicle of
Higher Education, and on the BBC and NPR. He teaches in Fairfield Universitys