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Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar is Executive Director of Drunken Boat and author/editor of seven books and chapbooks of poetry
Interests: poetry, literature, web art, postcolonialism, soccer, basketball, cooking, Indian culture, mythology
Recent Activity
My last blog post for BAP so thanks to all of you for following along as my literary adventures took me from Jackson Hole, Wyoming back to Connecticut, where the state flower is the Mountain Laurel, state animal is the sperm whale, state fossil the Eubrontes Giganteus (some sort of carnivorous biped though it's one of the rare examples of a track [picture below] without any kind of fossil record), and whose state motto is "Qui Transtulit Sustinet," or "He Who Transplanted Still Sustains." That motto seems to get at the itinerant nature of the state's population, that even with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Fireworks, like mothers, are loved universally. Ever since the Han Dynasty, everyone from a Wall Street investment banker to a Mongolian yak-herder would stop with a jaw hung in astonishment to see that special ratio of saltpeter, charcoal and sulfur combust in a green bamboo shoot. Pao chuk or "bursting bamboo" gave way to huo yao, the addictive, impossible-to-look-away-from "fire drug" (or gunpowder). In some cultures, like Trinidad & Tobago the bamboo bursting continues: While at the other end of the spectrum, if this display on the occasion of China's 60th anniversary and the new high-speed rail from Beijing to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Let’s begin with oral poetry, which I ended the last blog post on, because I neglected to note that the cowboy poets have nothing on the Basques who sell tickets in the tens of thousands for their oral poetry competition, broadcast on national television, to name the Bertsolari Txapelketa, the national championship of bertsolaritza, a complicated Basque oral tradition of improvisational poetry that’s composed on the stage to compete in an appropriate melody constructed by the poets, three cycles (or sequences of bertsos) of poems that respond dramatically to the challenges posed by the emcees. And let’s not forget the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks Lisa and Tina! And yes Prageeta was good to meet Jayme. I still need to get out to Montana sometime to say hello.
One of the more intriguing aspects of being in Wyoming for this Easterner has been exposure to cowboy culture. Parts of the West retain in their vast spaces a tunnel to the past of the land and thanks to some locals, I was given clues on how to distinguish between genuine and poseur cowboys. For one thing, a real cowboy never enters an establishment with a cowboy hat on his head. Also, he when he takes his hat off, he places it with the hole to the sky, so as not to let the luck fall out. Indeed real cowboys... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks Lisa! I think it's important to agitate on behalf of those without a voice, however we can. Glad to hear your thoughts. Best, Ravi Sent from my iPhone
Hi all - glad to be the guest blogger for this week and in fact writing this first entry on the last day of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference where I was poetry faculty for the last few days. Beyond the cowboys, the Teton Mountains and the wandering pronghorn elk, there was also a lot of writing and talk about writing taking place. Yesterday I was the leader of one of these sessions with poet Laurie Kutchins and our subject was Uprising: the Role of Poetry in Revolution. We began the session by sharing the good news that after 80... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Jun 23, 2011