Having recently reviewed Matty Weingast’s attractive collection of poems from the Therigatha, I was somewhat surprised to see that Shambhala had decided to reissue an newly-expanded version of Songs of the Sons and Daughters of Buddha (1996), given that the female half was already available in Weingast’s excellent and sensitively-handled new version. However, in addition to the fact that this edition includes male poets, the choice of female poets is not always identical, and of course it’s also interesting to see how different translators treat the same poems.

Andrew B Liu’s Tea War comes with a promising title and an equally promising concept. What better window into macro-economic evolution of east and south Asia than the development of iconic beverage of the region, “the most consumed beverage around the world today” aside from water? And war it was, between the centuries-old Chinese and nascent Indian exports of a quintessentially Asian commodity.

Arrivals & Departures: Journeys in Poems, Reena Kapoor (August 2020)
Arrivals & Departures: Journeys in Poems, Reena Kapoor (August 2020)

Arrivals & Departures is Reena Kapoor’s debut poetry collection. This anthology takes readers on a journey through a multitude of places, time periods, and emotions, including the nostalgia of one’s homeland, the suffering and resilience of women who experienced India and Pakistan’s 1947 Partition, parenthood, and life’s other simple pleasure. Kapoor draws readers into new worlds with her words and allows them to find themselves within.

A House is a Body is the first book-length outing for two-time O Henry Award-winner Shruti Swamy. Most of the stories have been published separately before in such journals as The Paris Review, but they take on a particular strength when arranged together in a collection. Some take place in India, others in the West, but the power of the book rests in those stories that subtly show how women have traditionally not been recognized for the nurturing roles they take up.