ATHENA KASHYAP

Athena Kashyap’s newest collection, Sita’s Choice, explores issues relating to women, especially in India. Taking off from Sita, the main female character in the Ramayana, explores her decision to leave her husband, Ram, and return to her mother, Earth. These mythical and magical poems examine the duality of nature, the sacrifices women make daily, and the deeper societal ills such as female foeticide, dowry deaths, violence against women, and the role of the media, “Ravan’s hundred thousand eyes,” in perpetuating this violence. The book also explores motherhood through poems that look at the mother-child bond, “the formless, uncharted shape of love,” as well as the pain of childbirth, “It rises—multi-hued, magnificent.”

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What People Are Saying About the Book

Athena Kashyap's poems are alive and supple paeans to life, celebrating the aches and wisdoms of the human body as well as a sensuous, feral womanhood. Sita as fecund earth goddess and the wronged woman of Indian myth is the metaphor that surfaces time and again through these poems. This metaphor is most fully realized, to my mind, in the poems that sing with lyrical abandon of love, longing and motherhood. Erotic, ripe, succulent with desire, these are tributes to the 'formless, uncharted shape of love', its shapeshifting surprises, its exultation, and the pervasive mystery of pain, 'multi-hued, magnificent'. -Arundhathi Subramaniam

In her second book of poems, Sita's Chocie, Athena Kashyap takes on many of the familiar Indian myths, and reinterprets and contextualizes them in a contemporary way. There is lyricism, questioning, pleading, worship, evocation and watercolour-like painting of scenes with words. There is also a beautiful clash and confluence of tradition in this book all felt intensely with oblique vividness. -Sudeep Sen