Gas & Food, No Lodging by Devi S. Laskar

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(1 customer review)


Here are poems burnished by unquiet rage, fragments of subtle humor drenched in irony and sorrow. Here are lyrical forms gleaming with wry intelligence and a fierce originality.
Here is a collection poised to snap you out of your daydreams and into an alert wonder about this strange, familiar world.

–Elizabeth Rosner, author of “Electric City” and “Gravity.”



There are women and girls out there who are lost on a highway, who resort to the wiles of fairies and wicked stepmothers; to vengeful exes and adoring aunts. The road trip of Gas & Food, No Lodging travels the interstate of precise form, indelible language, and a music that rivals the wind. Devi Laskar has created a tryptic of dreams that is interpreted through mythologies as beloved as Persephone and Scheherazade and as twisted and as misfit as rubberneckers on a highway and dieters in a support group. Beneath the hardened images lay a loneliness underscored by a foreignness–not just to the country, the state, the road in-between, but also to the family and to the self. Devi Laskar says in Unanswered/Untranslatable/ “Memory is praise and plundered…” and in this solid and indelible collection, memory is also vexing and determined. Every word, every stanza, every verse holds strong.

–Elmaz Abinader, Author, This House, My Bones



Devi S. Laskar is a poet who deserves wider readership.  She’s been toiling in the fields of poetry for many years now yielding poems that explore American culture in conflict with her Indian cultural identity; her woman self; and her need to write. Writing transforms her complicated modern life allowing in the mythic from Persephone to Ra.  In her witty and masterful poem, “The All-Saints, GA, Overeaters Support Group/meeting #18” food connects to a variety of myths regarding the body, community and memory—from watermelons to pomegranates.  The title poem, “Gas, Food, No Lodging” shows the poet in full American trope: “No one comes in to loiter. One buys beer, no candy./The traffic light never turns yellow or red. Just Get-n-Go.”—What is left as we leave one part of our lives for the promise of something new, different, that possible success.  Laskar understands how mortality is differently perceived, and she often looks back to a culture that is thousands of years older than ours and what that offers—the tension from this knowledge lends her  poems a kind poignant humor and bitter wisdom.  “Gas, Food, No Lodging” will serve the poet well as she gains her much deserved wider readership.

 – Patricia Spears Jones, author of “A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems” and “Painkiller.”



Gas & Food, No Lodging

by Devi S. Laskar

$14.99, paper

Devi S. Laskar is a native of Chapel Hill, N.C. She holds an MFA from Columbia University in New York, an MA in South Asian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in journalism and English from the UNC – Chapel Hill. She is a former journalist, covering crime and government for daily newspapers. She is also a photographer. One photograph was featured on the cover of The Florida Review. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Raleigh Review, which nominated her for Best New Poets 2016. She is an alumna of both TheOpEdProject and VONA/Voices, and recently won first prize in poetry at the 27th Mendocino Coast Writers Conference contest. She now lives in California, but remains a die hard Tar Heel basketball fan.

1 review for Gas & Food, No Lodging by Devi S. Laskar

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner)

    In GAS & FOOD, NO LODGING, Devi S. Laskar takes her cues from Virginia Woolf’s BETWEEN THE ACTS, and sets to “destroying youth and India.” That is, this poet and these poems concern themselves with “the latitude/ of separation” from familial superstitions and girlhood naiveté, from fairy tales and Greek mythology, from the “repetition of distress” and “bitter remembrance.” From those and associated imprisonments and endangerments–especially to the female body and being–to “how we begin// to choose the moment of our emancipation.” In these poems, those moments are wrought in the fire-cleansing, choice-claiming words of the poet. The GPS is set for the longitude and latitude of “the moment…/ Persephone leaves the underworld…”; Devi S. Laskar, a most capable poet-driver, is at the wheel. Readers, call “shotgun”!

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