About the Poems
by Ravi Shankar
Being an adherent of both tacos and truffles, I've been working on a many-limbed body of work that traverses stanzas Dr. Octopus style, reaching out in lyric, in irony, in philosophic fervor, under the spell of desire, not crafting music where the center does not hold, but rather creating instruments full of periphery that when taken together have the depth of a full orchestra. Or, geologically, multivalent minerals that glint in the hand like shavings chipped from veins of ore. "Simpatico," "Breakfast," and "Lucia," come from the attempt to transmute the untranslatable experience of being with another being - all keening and urgency and incandescent sensation - into something that is bite-sized, representative, passionate and serious yet imbued with wonder and humor. "Gator" and "Precipitation" come from a series of neo-pastorals that I'm working on. They're called "neo" because unlike the traditional pastoral, there's no social aspect to them. After all, pastorals derive etymologically from "pastor," or shepherd. These pieces, all four tercets long, are more about perception than the phenomenon being described, though of course the exchange is deeply symbiotic. The only caveat is that I had to have an actual encounter with the phenomenon, in most cases natural, and be spurred to reflection from this literal event. So yes, I confess I did skulk to within a few feet of some slumbering alligators. In the series, I'm trying to synthesize an empirical perspective with a deeply individuated one and throughout, I'm using Lucretius' sense from De Rerum Natura: "let us examine if it finite be."