poem index

book

Schizophrene

Publisher

Nightboat Books

Year

2011

Type

Poetry Book
Schizophrene by Bhanu Kapil

In her fourth collection, Bhanu Kapil writes, "12:20 on the third day; notes from the glass coffin. Schizophrene. // Because it is psychotic not to know where you are in a national space." Kapil's text-as-fragmented-notebook takes on the intersection of migration and mental illness in South Asian diasporic communities. The author's own restlessness and frustration with her process becomes part of the text, making the poet identity and the "I" of the text co-exist as one and the same, with no distinction between the two. In work that enacts a poetics of disorientation, the language is at turns disjointed, narrative, personal, communal, and always sensory. From "India: Notebooks"

        I was lying on my back in the snow, my notebook balanced
	next to me on a crust of ice, like a wolf. Like a lion. Like a
	cobra. Like a tiger. Like a schizophrenic. 

	Schizophrenic, what binds design? What makes the city 
	touch itself everywhere at once, like an Asian city, like the
	city you live in now? What makes the wall wet, the step
	wet, the sky wet?

This book review originally appeared in American Poets.

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