Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Poets
ISBN: 9781681376462
Pages: 512
Publication Date: April 19, 2022


by Vivek Narayanan

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After is a collection of poems inspired by Valmiki’s Ramayana, one of Asia’s foundational epic poems and a story-cycle of formative historical importance all across South and Southeast Asia.

On the Indian subcontinent, the Ramayana is not only central to religion and folklore but to the conduct of life. People take its characters as models of vice and virtue, courage and devotion, and politicians have been known to take advantage of the veneration in which the book is held. In the West, too, the Ramayana has long been recognized as one of the essential classics of world literature, on par with the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Homeric epics, Virgil, and Dante, even as its stories remain comparatively unfamiliar.

In After Vivek Narayanan brings the resources of contemporary English poetry to bear on Valmiki's Ramayana. In a work that bears comparison with Christopher Logue and Alice Oswald’s distinctive reshapings of Homer, and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, Narayanan allows the ancient voice of the poem to confront and engage with modern experience, initiating a transformative conversation across time.