By Sukrita & Yasmin Ladha
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Country Drive is a poetic meditation, a journey and a dialogue across time and space between Sukrita and Yasmin Ladha. Their differences are undercut by their familiarity, their love for the country they were born in, Kenya, and their travels to each others’ homelands, India and Canada. The result is a unique collection of poems, at once, illuminating, life-affirming and provocative.
SUKRITA is an honorary fellow of the International Writing Programme at the University of Iowa. A recipient of the Indo-Canadian Shastri Fellowship, in addition to many other fellowships and residencies, she has published extensively on Partition literature, cultural diversity and women’s literature. Her latest collection of poems is Dream Catcher (2015). Her poetry has been widely translated and she is herself a known translator.
Yasmin Ladha is a poet, novelist and an essayist from Alberta, Canada. Blue Sunflower Startle, a novel, her most recent work, was published by Freehand Books, in 2010.
A drive in the country promises new and unexpected spaces. Sukrita Paul Kumar and Yasmin Ladha’s Country Drive delightfully sings the transitions and uncertainties they encounter in exploring their liminal and shared spaces from the front seat. Each turn in the road is an unknown possibility. Their poems converse in ripples and laughter as they “jamboree and carnival at the borders” of in-between while “Our iktara strums neither echo nor plea, but hooey.” We need these poems for the spaces they reveal, “lambent” in their arrival. For this “Country Drive”, you’d better roll down your window.
FRED WAH, author of Waiting for Saskatchewan and Faking It: Poetics & Hybridity
Sukrita and Yasmin Ladha undertake a journey through history, mythology and contemporary times and go beyond borders and boundaries where love is possible only on the other side, on no man’s land where poetry is born. Each one speaks in her unique voice, and yet together, they create a beautiful pattern and resonance in their jugalbandi. While Sukrita and Yasmin do not follow one another, it is remarkable that each adds newer hues and dimensions to the other’s poetic expressions.
MANGALESH DABRAL, author of Pahar Par Lalten, and This Number Does Not Exist