Poetry. Winner if the Editor's Choice Award. CLEARLY YOU ARE ESL by Ranjani Murali is a genre-bending collection of poems that playfully explores the hybrid postcolonial Englishes that exist within an Indian English context. The attempt of the poet is to diffuse both the simultaneous specificity and the vagueness of this linguistic experience (and register) using visual poems and syntactic experimentation. "These intellectually ambitious and surprising poems—some of them in the form of graphs and figures—investigate the politics of language, dating, and workplace etiquette," writes poet and professor Jennifer Atkinson. "This is a new and unforgettable voice—by turns witty, acerbic, compassionate, and comic."
"I like this kind of poetry—it has how-to manuals, diagrams and words that are startling and perfect. Non-standardized 'Indian/South Indian' English is usually put on display for ridicule and I feel that many of these pieces capture the oft-overlooked aspects of the language that make it so extra-ordinary. One rarely finds it laid out like this—very honest and stripped down but in a humble way. To me, these poems unfold like a city—they are familiar, sad, quietly breathtaking."—Kuzhali Manickavel
"This is a dazzling collection of lyric adventures and experiments. Born in South India and living in the U.S. since her twenties, Murali navigates the cross-currents of contemporary South Indian and Midwest American culture and language. She explores the ironies and conflicts of living and working in and between those worlds. These intellectually ambitious and surprising poems—some of them in the form of graphs and figures—investigate the politics of language, dating, and workplace etiquette. This is a new and unforgettable voice—by turns witty, acerbic, compassionate, and comic."—Jennifer Atkinson
Ranjani Murali has an MFA in Poetry from George Mason University and currently teaches writing courses at Harper College in Illinois. Her first book of poems, BLIND SCREENS, was published by Almost Island in 2017. The book won the Prabha Khaitan Women's Voice Award in 2019. Murali was the recipient of the 2014 Srinivas Rayaprol prize as well as fellowships for poetry and nonfiction from the Vermont Studio Center and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, respectively. CLEARLY YOU ARE ESL (The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, 2021) is her second book of poems.Author City: CHICAGO, IL USA