As a child, Vivek Narayanan sensed the enormity of the world in the tall grass of his backyard. Before he could read, he discovered that words made shapes and patterns with their sounds. Today, the cadences of languages he once knew orchestrate his dreams.
Vivek Narayanan is a poet who constructs new topography for language, unconstrained by space and time. His words play, twist, and dance, honoring our erratic relationship with the many worlds we inhabit, and rejoicing in what will always be unknown. Vivek’s own center is a shifting one. He was born in Jharkhand, India, learned to walk in Tanzania, came of age in Zambia, furthered his education in the United States, taught anthropology in South Africa, wrote books of poetry in Delhi and Chennai, and most recently relocated to Fairfax, Virginia. In his poems, far-flung places live side by side, and the lines that demarcate our identities are pleasurably unreliable. Vivek’s two books of poetry are Universal Beach and Life and Times of Mr. S.
I spoke with Vivek at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where our conversation traversed through childhood quirks, the importance of irrationality, and the writer’s unearthly intuition.
When we choose to spend the day walking in the mountains or to cover a page of our best notebook with doodles, or places leaves in a flower vase to give the arrangement 'texture', colour-code our bookshelves, bake our own bread, wait long years before our rhododendron grows, perhaps we are committing a folly.Read More
By Meara Sharma and Henry Peck, Issue 21, Folly: A wise fool, March 2013