‘Here is a book worth celebrating: Manohar Shetty’s Full Disclosure: New and Collected Poems (1981–2017), which gathers more than thirty years of work from a major voice in world Anglophone poetry. More accurately, this book presents a range of voices—in some of the multi-sectioned poems, a choir—as Shetty writes through a variety of personae and perspectives, delivering emotionally resonant deep imagery and intellectual precision, profound compassion and ironic wit, in equal parts. In Shetty’s work the natural world impinges on domestic life at every turn, creating an environment transformed through contact as well as the poet’s observation: a spider becomes “a yoyo,/A jiggling asterisk: a footnote:” and even on the bookshelves silverfish “burrow in flaking tomes.” A meditation on “the sick warmth of self-induced pain” finds its antiphone elsewhere in the “strange gawky cackle” of a peacock, “in its beak a fullgrown/Krait, slick hexagonal scales/Panicky and porous.” And running throughout the course of this brilliant career is a weighted humour, whether Shetty is recounting the secrets to a happy life offered by various characters (“external is eternal,” one handsome man concludes, while another urges simply, “Drink. Siesta.”) or mourning the changes at home, where, “with the children gone…MySpace and Facebook/do not twitter/all day long.” This collection provides us with a broad survey of a celebrated poet’s past and present while offering an enticement for his—and our—future.’—John Hennessy, poetry editor of The Common.
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