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Usha Akella is doing something truly astonishing in this book. It is really three books in one. It is memoir of a world traveler who has become a poet. It also is a work of journalism reporting on important poetry events around the world. Finally, it is a collection of beautiful and moving poems inspired by travel. Together, they unite to remind us that beauty and compassion are greater than nations, and we are all citizens of the world.
Lyman Grant, Poet, Austin, Texas, USA
Cover art: Nirmal Raja
Printing: OneTouchPoint Ginny’s, Austin, TX.
The Rosary of Latitudes
Prose and Poetry
By Usha Akella
Foreword by Keki Daruwalla
Afterword by Ravi Shankar
Blurbs: Zoran Anchevski, Tozan Alkan, Marj Evasco, etc.
In The Rosary of Latitudes, poet, editor, author, teacher and playwright Usha Akella investigates her identity with place and travel in poems and prose. The beads on her rosary come from different latitudes in Europe, the Americas, South Asia and Australia as she explores a wide spectrum of cultural and spiritual matters, including the paradoxical nature of identity– one is many and many is one.
The reader moves with Usha across the globe to experience insights her mind generates as she encounters place after place. In the foreword Keki Daruwalla comments, “If you are writing ‘travel poetry’ then you need, apart from acute sensitivity, a handful of varied talents: empathy, a feel for people and place, and the alchemy of language to go with it to transform the place into something else. Usha Akella (if one has to call her a writer of travel poetry) is blessed with most of these attributes.”
And in the afterword Ravi Shankar of Drunken Boat commends, “That notion, of the universality of poetry, is given rapturous embodiment by this book by Usha Akella, which literally traverses the globe, from continent to continent, drawing a string around the world the way a God might, a true maker, which is, after all, the etymological derivation of the very word ‘poet.’ It takes a certain kind of person to remain open to so many cultures, so many tongues, and the speaker of these varied poems is just such a being — porous, open-hearted, ever seeking for that pulse of spiritual energy that exists at the border of space-time and culture, and our immersion in all of it simultaneously.”
This is a collection of wisdom as much as a travelogue or collection of poetry.