"In Bed" with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Posted by Goodreads on May 4, 2009
In celebration of National Poetry Month, Goodreads asked poet and novelist Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni to share five books of poetry that inspired her to begin writing. Born in Calcutta, India, and now a professor of creative writing at the University of Houston, Divakaruni's work delves into magical realism (Black Candle) and the throbbing heart of India (Sister of My Heart). Join her Q&A group during the month of April to learn more about her two new titles: The Palace of Illusions, a female character's perspective on an Indian epic, the Mahabharat (enter now to win a copy), and Shadowland, a fantastical adventure story for young adults (enter now to win a copy).

House of Light by Mary Oliver
"Oliver has an amazing eye for detail and an equally amazing talent for imagery. Whatever her eye lights on, she observes aslant, with compassion and without sentimentality. These are meditative poems. If you let them go deep into you, they will change how you see the world. Two of my favorites in the collection: 'The Black Snake' and 'The Lilies Break Open Over the Dark Water.' (I wish I'd come up with this title!)"

The Country Without a Post Office by Agha Shahid Ali
"Moving poems (actually, one long poem in many parts) about unrest, political uprisings, and ensuing deaths in the part of India that Shahid came from—Kashmir, which used to be considered the most beautiful part of the country. The poem traces the history of Kashmir as well as paints scenes of devastation, loss, and longing that reverberated within me long after I finished the book."

What Work Is by Philip Levine
"I've loved Levine's poetry ever since I was a teaching assistant for him when he was a visiting writer at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a major reason why I became a writer. All his collections are worth reading, but I like this one particularly because it celebrates the working man (and woman) of America—in their simplicity and their complexity, in their hardships, their heartbreaks, and their hard-won triumphs. This book won a National Book Award."

Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda
"Impassioned and inventive, Nobel Prize winner Neruda is a poet who stays on your mind. His intense love poems created a bit of a scandal when Twenty Love Poems was published, but in this book he writes out of a different kind of love: love for the ordinary objects of this world, objects we so often take for granted: an artichoke, onions, soap, his own socks. His language is luminous; his imagination quirky; his poetic vision penetrates deep into the essence of things."

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
"And finally, just for fun, T.S. Eliot's whimsical cat poems exhibit a new, playful side of the esteemed author of 'The Waste Land.' Whether you are a cat lover or not, you'll be charmed. Eliot's portraits of felines are so amusing and yet so accurate, with their catchy rhymes and foot-tapping rhythm, it reminded me once again why I had loved poetry as a child."

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Blue (new)

Blue I have written down your suggestions. So excited. Thanks.

back to top