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Wanton Textiles
Voluptuous Bristle
Seamless Matter
Radha Says
Language for a New Century
Deepening Groove












"Instrumentality plays expectations and delivers uncanny reformulations that seem 'predestined, in retrospect.' Ravi Shankar's poems are filled with the pleasure of subjects dissolving into ideas, ideas folding into sounds, and sounds echoing familiar but elusive translocations."
—Charles Bernstein

"Quirky, quizzical, inquisitive, Ravi Shankar in Instrumentality goes in quest of what the oddness of language and imagination can reveal: 'a hush of atoms holding a planet together.' By turns, lyrical and meditative, these poems are guided by a strong intelligence toward resolutions that are both surprising and apt."
—Gregory Orr

"A New Confessions of Zeno, this time in verse. Topics most of us brood over in private are here brought out into daylight by an analyst clad in bullet-proof unembarrassment. Ravi Shankar is a comic tragedian of philosophic collisions that occur at the intersection of memory, desire, perception, mutability, and language. Wild swoops made on the rheostat of diction and intricate consonantal echolocation enable the invention of this poet’s analogue for the metamorphic nature of what is past, or passing, or to come."
—Alfred Corn

"In the stunning title poem of Instrumentality, Shankar writes of 'action's unstuttering arc which is eloquence and muteness at once.' That idea expresses what I find in this collection, for here poems becomes performatives that enacts their totality in the tension between graceful expression and silence. Shankar is a deeply philosophical poet who explores the major questions while attuned to the flux that is the very stuff of existence, and does so while moving from place to place—Illinois, Florida, Mumbai, Monteverde, and Hell's Kitchen—a Spiderman of the imagination. And, in terms of tone, there's no cynicism or irony here, rather the pleasures of varied vocabularies and deft juxtapositions ajumble on multiple levels. One senses the sheen of a new poetry."
—Gray Jacobik

"This is a very special first book. Ravi Shankar's poems have a fine tuned sense of form, a rare delight in language. Through wit and abstraction they reveal a metaphysics of longing, binding us to the elements of our moving world."
—Meena Alexander

"A New Confessions of Zeno, this time in verse. Topics most of us brood over in private are here brought out into daylight by an analyst clad in bullet-proof unembarrassment. Ravi Shankar is a comic tragedian of philosophic collisions that occur at the intersection of memory, desire, perception, mutability, and language. Wild swoops made on the rheostat of diction and intricate consonantal echolocation enable the invention of this poet’s analogue for the metamorphic nature of what is past, or passing, or to come."
—Alfred Corn








Wanton Textiles

"Wanton Textiles” is indeed a satisfying romp through the psychological and primordial landscape of modern love, accentuated by separation that continuously fuels passionate longing. But even more than this, most importantly, “Wanton Textiles” is a highly enjoyable work read after read. Every page entertains, pleases, and impresses! It is a joy!"
— Michael Parker






Voluptuous Bristle

You know you need to read a poem about a painting that begins “Giddy up pigment!” Ravi Shankar is a postmodern flâneur. He wanders the world’s real and fictional gridded cities (or perhaps his astral body swoops high above them) and reports back. Using x-ray vision, a snappy vocabulary and considerable intelligence he hones in on what’s flaunted and hidden, the understated and the gaudy, the modest and the excessive. Each poem is a tiny stage on which miniature dramas ignite, in all their cunning, vivid, mutating detail. Visual art, music, and politics; the sensual and the ornate all percolate here. Voluptuous Bristle gives voice to a mind readers will be happy to spend time inside.
-Amy Gerstler

 Ravi Shankar’s Voluptuous Bristle offers up a dizzying array of lush images gracefully tumbling down the pages. These sensual poems capture the spontaneous energy of the brushstroke while taking full advantage of the magic of sound.
-Jim Daniels


Seamless Matter

Tightly organized and orchestrated, these nut-like poems take a microscope to nature, opening it up then opening it further until the reader is lost amid rich minutia, among once-familiar objects now made strange. It’s the language itself that does the trick—Shankar has a marvelous way of getting sound and phrasing to say both something and themselves.     
—Cole Swensen

The sound-work of these poems is meticulous and impressive. Their field-guide knowledge runs deep. And the book, when read as a whole, becomes nothing less than a praise song of our shared physicality, and of existence known, as it must be, under the scepter of time.      
—Jane Hirshfield


Radha Says

"a presence that elicits our gratitude…with dazzling erudition, sensuality, and despair”
--National Book Award winner Marilyn Hacker

“In this posthumously edited work we feel the wonder the poet felt in the face of language and we feel too the sorrow and the pity of her passing.”
—Meena Alexander





Language for a New Century

This rich collection of poetry from Asia, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, fills a huge gap in our cultural heritage. It is a formidable achievement, and an important contribution to our education.”
—Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

“This extraordinary, library-in-one volume: what a resource! Those to whom poetry is essential as the supreme use of language will find the work of many poets they have never before come to, and those readers who have limited themselves to prose have the opportunity to discover how the poet outreaches everything prose can illuminate in who and what we are, no matter where, on the map. Assembled here is not the Tower of Babel, but the astonishment and subtlety inherent in many languages and their experimental modes to expand the power of words. The introductions to each section offer perceptions engagingly against which to place one’s own readings of the poems. The editors have boldly envisaged and compiled a beautiful achievement for world literature.”
—Nadine Gordimer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

A symphonic sweep of beckoning cries, praises, prayers, curses, ruminations and revelations. An ensemble rich with diverse voices, here the old and the new converge, and something wholly human and futuristic emerges—something that possesses a robust lyricism—shining its light, its illuminated certainty into the twenty-first century. This marvelous anthology assembles a multitude of voices intent on a purposeful, deep singing.
—Yusef Komunyakaa, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

A feast of hundreds of courses, this new book of poetry in translation looks away from the Occident towards the work currently being produced in the east. It is a rich addition to Norton’s collection of meticulously produced verse anthologies.
—Financial Times

Among contemporary poetry's most notable trends is a post-9/11 surge in translation. The blockbuster anthology published during the past six months is Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry From the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond devotedly compiled by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal, and Ravi Shankar.
—Village Voice

What the poets share is a delicate balancing act between a respect for centuries of tradition and the breakneck speed of modern society.
—Washington Post

Read Language for a New Century as you would a field guide to the human condition in our time, a poetic survival manual. . . . If, as Milosz wrote, “posterity will read us in an attempt to comprehend what the twentieth century was like,” then this collection will be read to know the beginning of the twenty-first.”
—Carolyn Forché













Deepening Groove

 “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.”
-Wyn Cooper, author of Chaos is the New Calm

“In ‘Deepening Groove,’ Ravi Shankar’s 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 I’m 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 contain as in ‘The Oyster’- “secrets that require / a knife to pry open and vinegar to serve.” ‘Deepening Groove’ shows Ravi Shankar is truly, now, one of America’s finest younger poets.”
—Dick Allen, Connecticut State Poet Laureate



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