“In her innovative debut, Mehta explores the connection between place, memory, and sound, offering a vision of “ex-colonial hills,” their “songs lilting,” their “repetitions hell.” Discrete poems and hybrid texts are unified by their vibrant sonic textures…Mehta creates a vision of history that is elliptical and recursive, allowing us to see the continuities and confluences within its “feisty, restless, see-saw spirit.” Publishers Weekly
“A beautiful book…Mehta traces the gentle and eccentric routes of spirituality, with an emphasis on spirit…Prose is tucked among her verse—I hope more poets follow her lead, and be generous with genre—making Forest with Castanets a uniquely arranged collection…She’s a talented essayist, and the hopeful conclusion of her second essay leans into more poems, starting with “Churchgoing”: “If love is divine then what am I / when they are so full of love / excelling?” Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions.
“I am Bombay on the move: Growing up Jewish and Jain.” My essay on Manto’s Bombay in the forties, my own Bombay (“a thriving, diverse metropolis with mazes of streets to wander and open ocean beyond”), and growing up mixed-race and an immigrant: “My temple lives in the sea, with memories and bare feet. / Its gifts are cold water, its only worshipper is me.” Jewish Book Council.
“All writers have a civic responsibility. To write is to take action, and then you have to follow up your words with deeds—practice kindness, form opinions, stand up for others. Artists need to present many sides, but they don’t have to come up with clear answers.” Read my PEN 10 interview at PEN America.
Tune into me talking about the sonnet on the Poetry Society website: “I'm actually sticking to the 14-line structure as a kind of moving ribbon.” The Poetry Society
Poet of the Week at Brooklyn Poets: a poem and an interview. Me on Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear it Away: “The book’s a terrifying puzzle with the tension amped up. There are driving and overlapping forces of good and evil at work and there’s no satisfaction ever, until you think I knew it! and then you realize the horror is interior.” Brooklyn Poets