Today's poem is "Fabricating Astrology"
from Instrumentality

Cherry Grove Collections

Ravi Shankar was born in Washington DC, grew up in Manassas, known for the Battles of Bull Run and Lorena Bobbitt, attended third grade in South India, went to a Science and Tech high school, worked a variety of jobs, including as knife salesman and drywall hanger, eventually matriculating from the University of Virginia and Columbia University. He is currently poet-in-residence at Central Connecticut State University and a founding editor of the internationally acclaimed online journal of the arts, Drunken Boat. His poems have won many awards, including the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, the Bennett Prize for Poetry at Columbia University, and honorable mention in the Indiana Review Poetry Prize. His critical work has previously appeared in such places as Poets & Writers, Time Out New York, The Iowa Review, The AWP Writer's Chronicle, among other publications. He has read at such venues as The National Arts Club, Columbia University, KGB, The Ear Inn, Sherry French Gallery, and Cornelia Street Cafe, and served on panels at UCLA, Poet's House, South-by-Southwest Interactive/Film Festival, and the AWP Conference in Baltimore. He reviews poetry for the Contemporary Poetry Review and is currently editing an anthology of South Asian, East Asian, and Middle Eastern poetry.

About Instrumentality:
"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

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