Magazine article World Literature Today

Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems

Magazine article World Literature Today

Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems

Article excerpt

Yuyutsu Sharma. Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems. New Delhi. Nirala. 2016. 81 pages.

On what seemed like an ordinary day in 2015, a series of rumbles jostled the Nepali region, killing thousands and thrusting countless more into homelessness. An encounter with this disorientating riftproduced Quaking Cantos, a visual and verbal response to the wreckage that emerged when planet ground against earth. Much like the title itself, Quaking Cantos-either an epic poem or a quavering song, depending on orientation-is a stunningly heart-wrenching, albeit healing, rendezvous with torment of the highest order. In this compilation, photography by Prasant Shrestha joins the verse of Himalayan poet Yuyutsu Sharma to produce a slim rejoinder to an otherwise blind and mute confrontation with chaos.

Sleek and glossy images smolder from behind the eyes and intersperse this rubblelike arrangement of verse, the cover of which prominently demands an immediate reckoning with unexpected tumult. Bricks, dust, and the unrecognizable remains of a once-normal life confront the reader before the title page to part 1, "I generally do not cry . . ." and once again in the middle of part 2, "Seven Things That Caused the Quakes." (The title page to part 1 likewise locates itself before the table of contents, another disjunction. …

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