Poetry. Asian & Asian American Studies. Women's Studies. Film. Winner of the 2016 Almost Island Manuscript Competition, judged by Adil Jussawalla and Eliot Weinberger.
"Ranjani Murali's is a fast-moving eye, missing nothing, sparing nothing. Every detail of the seen world is here, which is at once both the absurdity and the dis-ease of our represented and re-represented lives, troubled by the position of privilege in which we all 'reek of watching.' With a mind 'suspended // between seeing and being seen' the poet guides us through a kind of underworld, urgently crisscrossing the hyper-real of cinema and self-deception in a global theater in which any one of us might 'step out into the raw / brick temple, rain-shorn, and bow in reverence / to an abscess adorned with flower;' where 'the hero is smoking in / the trailer-toilet, his window overlooking a river where / a buffalo is courting storm-water;' and the Supreme-Mother-Goddess is 'a myth so real that / it makes you pause at every corner and turn furtively back, // wondering if she is tailing you.' Under Murali's cool urbanity, her unshakable irony and equanimity, runs a line of anger that feels exactly like a line of clarity."—Susan Tichy
"Ranjani Murali's lines are usually triggered by immediate experience or by an experience intentionally recollected to stress its immediacy: what actually happened, what body and mind experienced at a particular time... Considering the range of subjects she covers, the risks Murali takes are many, and skilfully faced. Her subjects are starkly contemporary: terrorists, abandoned Alcatraz, Tamil movies, sexual harassment—our daily newsfeed, but which, in her world, are also tropes of entrapment. Her escapes or attempts to escape are through real or imaginary flight: the sky's her saviour."—Adil Jussawalla
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