Love is a many-headed snake in Nisha Ramayya's debut poetry collection, twisting its way through devotion, sacrifice, and bliss. Seeking a way home, Ramayya discovers that homecoming - the impossible return - is a process of make-believe and magical thinking across Britain, India, and the infinite expanse. Ramayya's visionary poetry traces an opalescent, treacherous world by way of heritage, ritual, and myth. Thousand-petalled lotuses bloom inside skulls, goddesses with dirty feet charm honeybees, strains of jazz standards bleed into anti-national anthems. Meditating on diasporic identity and relationships, her writing roams the Indo-European language family, finds consolation in genealogies of decolonial and anti-racist resistance, and roots itself in the movements between ancient Sanskrit texts and contemporary feminist prose poems. In Ramayya's hands, the body assumes many forms as love produces many states: attraction and repulsion, excitement and exhaustion, selfishness and the dissolution of self. Desire, eroticism, and care contain the possibilities of shame, fury, and destruction. Moving towards and away from love, being translated and transformed by love, suffering under love and refusing its power - the poems in this book never leave love's hold.
Nisha Ramayya is a poet and lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen Mary, University of London. Her pamphlets Notes on Sanskrit (2015) and Correspondences (2016) are published by Oystercatcher Press. Threads, a creative-critical pamphlet co-authored with Sandeep Parmar and Bhanu Kapil, is published by clinic. She is a member of the 'Race & Poetry & Poetics in the UK' research group and the interdisciplinary practice-as-research group Generative Constraints.