Winner of the 2002 PEN Open Book Award
Meena Alexander's poetry emerges as a consciousness moving between the worlds of memory and the present, enhanced by multiple languages. Her experience of exile is translated into the intimate exploration of her connections to both India and America. In one poem the thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi visits with her while she speaks on the phone in her New York apartment, and in another she evokes fellow-poet Allen Ginsberg in the India she herself has left behind. Drawing on the fascinating images and languages of her dual life, Alexander deftly weaves together contradictory geographies, thoughts, and feelings.
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Reading Rumi As the Phone Rings
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Allen Ginsberg Almav Amma ankle Batala Black River black water blood blue bones breath bruise burn Chennai Afternoon child childhood Choric Meditation Civil Strife cries Daffodils damp dark Delhi Diary of Dreams eyes father fire fists flesh girl glyphs GOLD FLUTE Gold Horizon Grand Central Station guava hair hands hard water head HEARS A GOLD Hills of Bavaria HONEST SENTENCE ILLITERATE HEART Indian April indigo Kaddish light lives Malayalam memory MIRROR OF EARTH mirror's edge mist Mohenjo Daro monsoon mother mouth murmured Muse NAMES TO STONES pale Paramjit poem poet poetry Port Sudan quietly rain RED PARAPET Red Shirt ribs Rites of Sense Roadside Music rose rosewood room Rumi sari scrap script shadow Shams ul silk sing skin slit smoke someone squat syllables taxicab thighs thing threshold throat Tiruvella tongue torn tree turned voice Walled Garden watch wave wind woman write