Thirtha
Pramila Venkateswaran
Yuganta Press

Thirtha
$11.95 US
ISBN 0-938999-15-X

About the Author
Ordering
Yuganta Press

I taste Cauvery in New York, glinting thinly where it crosses
Karnataka into Tamil Nadu; a clump of cane between
a well and a home marking the border. Does the farmer
transgress by walking under the same sky for a sip?

We are on both shores at once, both or more?
Where the Indian ocean holds the Atlantic
and the Pacific, waters wed
cobalt and ash; the depths are emerald; tides rise
and fall, storms rage, unconfined by borders.

from "Thirtha"


There is a breakthrough in these poems by Pramila Venkateswaran which is at once notable and tantalizing. In the current ascendance of multiculturalism, this fine South Asian poet teaches us that the aesthetics of human investigation -- whether interpersonal, sexual or charged with politics and culture -- may achieve something greater than mere coloration, hue or facile explication. Here we have a poet who eschews the easy statement in her search for subtlety of sensibility.

George Wallace


With remarkable clarity and dazzling imagery these poems "walk through history, without the heaviness of a camera," bringing us moving and compassionate accounts of displacement, loss, pilgrimage and hope. Whether in her own voice, or through voices from the past, Pramila Venkateswaran speaks to us in a language that is at once deeply lyrical, humble, intense and intelligent. In Thirtha "words thud louder / than hoe hitting stones" -- a poignant sound that resonates long after closing the book.

Laure-Anne Bosselaar


In her first volume of poetry, Thirtha (pilgrimage), Pramila Venkateswaran is a poet spinning gold, bringing together many perspectives - Indian, American, immigrant to America, daughter, mother, woman, listener, speaker, and more.

In the foreword, Pramila says the "pilgrimage her family made every summer to various parts of India to visit temples continues to inform her life." "In fording the oceans between India and America," the author says, she "becomes the pilgrim once again returning renewed." Pramila Venkateswaran's voice is magical - taking me out of myself, and returning me renewed.

P. Tadepalli in a review from Desi Journal


These are works that at once notable and tantalizing for their delicate handling of the aesthetics of human exploration - whether interpersonal, sexual, or charged with politics and culture. We learn through these poems to go beyond mere coloration of multicultural expression to something greater - statements which go beyond facile explication to a higher subtlety of sensibility.

George Wallace in a review from Poetry Bay


About the Author
Pramila Venkateswaran immigrated to the United States in 1982 to pursue a doctoral degree in English at George Washington University. Over the years she has published poems in several American journals. Her recent articles on global women's issues appear in Women's Studies Quarterly and in the anthology, Language Crossings: Negotiating the Self in a Multicultural World. She teaches English and women's studies at Nassau Community College, New York, and makes her home with her husband and two daughters on Long Island.

Yuganta Press
ralphnazareth at mac dot com