Anastasia Maps by Devi S. Laskar

$14.99

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

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PREORDER SHIPS DECEMBER 8, 2017

Anastasia Maps

by Devi S. Laskar

$14.99, paper

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Devi S. Laskar’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Carve Magazine, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, among others. The Raleigh Review nominated “Untitled Western Country Song in Rubescent A Minor” Best New Poets 2016. Poet Jessica Piazza selected “Dissection” and “What Namaste Really Means” as the winning entries for the poetry prize at the 27th Mendocino Coast Writers Conference in 2016, and those poems are now available in the latest issue of Noyo River Review. 

In this book, Ms. Laskar’s poetry explores dislocation. The title poem plays with the idea of turning back time or catching a glimpse of the future – but the narrator wakes to find that all the best plans are in fate’s hands. She writes of the underbellies of fairytales and myths – and how, sometimes, change and wisdom follow great upheaval.

Ms. Laskar holds an MFA from Columbia University in New York, an MA in South & West Asian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former journalist, covering crime and government for newspapers such as The Raleigh News & Observer (NC), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) and Gannett Company papers, The News-Press (FL) and The Commercial-News (IL) and Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI). She is also an artist and photographer. Last year, one of her photographs was featured on the cover of The Florida Review, and she has other photographs published or forthcoming in the pages of Tiferet Journal and The Blue Heron Review.

She is an alumna of both TheOpEdProject and VONA/Voices, and is at work on a memoir about the academic mobbing her family faced in the Deep South while her husband worked as a tenured college professor. She now lives in California.

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