Monk on a Hill


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‘These are delicate, sensual poems of inwardness and solitude but also of place and people. There are startlingly tender accounts of love and grief and a brooding lyricism brought to the description of towns and Himalayan history. A wonderful first collection.’—Anjum Hasan

Monk on a Hill comes at you like a ship on the horizon with pennants flying in the wind. These poems bear the insignia of diverse kingdoms, continents and journeys unfurling in unexpected ways the truth about time, memory; of fathers and sons, of mothers and heirlooms, what a maze of life the years have been. There is music here, a dozen songs in 12 bar blues and devotion, I who have grown like a rock here/ witnessed every grass and cloud that passed, where images combine with text to give meaning to the vision of the poet that is, in short, “very cool” and, at the same time, thought-provoking, with an essence of spirituality. These are words from the heart. Beautiful. Evocative.’—Mamang Dai

‘People, places, postscript name the three sections into which Guru T. Ladakhi’s poems in Monk on a Hill are emotively divided into. As a visual imagist, Ladakhi is adept at evoking scenes and feelings with short, descriptive lines and sensual similes; at times such compressed beauty suggests transience and decay—men and women, too, fade away and die. In these poems one senses that the poet’s blood is sum and substance with nature’s flow; nature remains always as a subtle mirror. This small volume of poems contains a world of confidences that have been beautifully articulated in a fine poetic sequence.’—Jayanta Mahapatra

‘Guru Ladakhi is a visionary who has a world to reveal to us. In an age fragmented between the abstract universalism of the computer screen and the parochial, Ladakhi is a fortunate traveller, equally at home in the Musee d’Orsay and in the Buddha’s birthplace. Ladakhi is a master of hard-earned lyricism, “spitting out the residue of lilies”, always alert to contradiction, “to the reality check/of the refugee camp”. His collection is put together musically: motifs recur, modulate, deepen. Ladakhi plays for high stakes: this is poetry that aims to recover a human reality even as globalization erases our landmarks, even if “we live fugitive lives forever”.’—Dennis Nurkse

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ImprintSpeaking Tiger


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