Devi S. Laskar
22nd October 2018
Finishing Line Press
There’s a lot of heaven in this book: constellations, “expanding giants,” “the puny sun,” “stars already dead but still shining holy.” And the moon, the moon. Don’t be fooled. These poems are made of red earth: the lives and blood of ordinary people. The gods are included for metaphor and balance, with their pomegranates and tridents. The astronomical proposal that “our destiny is a function of collapse” lurks beneath the book’s surface. But it’s the contemporary spinning world Devi S. Laskar is describing in Anastasia Maps. In a deft chorus of voices and a multitude of styles, Laskar–the “uninvited guest witnessing all”–turns her gaze on everything from Sanskrit psalms to simple rain to “those deadbeat stars” and shows them to us upended, startling, and new.
–Molly Fisk, Radio commentator and author of several books, including the poetry collection The More Difficult Beauty and a book of essays, Blow-Drying a Chicken
In Anastasia Maps: Poems, Devi S. Laskar “[journeys] / here with seed-bags of wildflowers” as she writes in a voice rooted in ancient lyric tradition. The speaker of these poems “walks backwards // toward [her] stellar beginnings”–the time where the mythological and the contemporary join one chorus. The steady form and articulation of her lines cycle from the land of Olympic myth to the corner of “Willow and Banks,” transforming each landscape with the poem-as-axis-mundi. In these poems an apple bears the discursive weight imbued with the Judeo-Christian creation story, Hades and Persephone, and Natalie Diaz’s poetry. Laskar’s each poem grows a bough that leads to realization, each realization bears fruit that startles with its starlight. Each incisive poem sacralizes the world of the mundane with contemporary parables as the poet crouches “close to the earth, humming its most ancient / song.”
–Rajiv Mohabir, author of poetry collections The Cowherd’s Son and The Taxidermist’s Cut