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The Opening Question Paperback – April 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"We poets are ear-shaped like harps," Sharma explains at the start of her exuberant second collection, whose disconcerting whimsy and interpersonal bite together produce a winning, if sprawling, work. The Brooklyn-based Sharma begins with expansive, even outlandish, phrasemaking and an up-to-the-minute sensibility: she explores "the freakish space of bother and divinity," asks "Do you greet a meaning/ that counteracts the youth culture?" and advises readers to "tip your/ hat, marry stormy women," and "practice religion when in space, rocket-time." "Family" considers a "mountain of ink" and an awkward guest as ironic "friends/ of the Indian community," while "Furnished Veda" and other mythologically inflected poems show her "aware of our culture's learnedness." As a seeming counter-tension, Sharma (Bliss to Fill) offers love poems at the volume's center that depend as much on their sports references ("baseball threats," NFL starts, even badminton) as on their erotic charge. As with poets like Dean Young, the copious and zingy parts of the book can threaten to overwhelm the more layered poems, but repeated readings reveal an interrogative depth.
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Review

"'We poets are ear-shaped like harps,' Sharma explains at the start of her exuberant second collection, whose disconcerting whimsy and interpersonal bite together produce a winning, if sprawling, work. The Brooklyn-based Sharma begins with expansive, even outlandish, phrasemaking and an up-to-the-minute sensibility: she explores 'the freakish space of bother and divinity,' asks 'Do you greet a meaning/ that counteracts the youth culture?' and advises readers to 'tip your/ hat, marry stormy women,' and "practice religion when in space, rocket-time.' 'Family' considers a 'mountain of ink' and an awkward guest as ironic 'friends/ of the Indian community,' while 'Furnished Veda' and other mythologically inflected poems show her 'aware of our culture's learnedness.' As a seeming counter-tension, Sharma (Bliss to Fill) offers love poems at the volume's center that depend as much on their sports references ('baseball threats,' NFL starts, even badminton) as on their erotic charge. As with poets like Dean Young, the copious and zingy parts of the book can threaten to overwhelm the more layered poems, but repeated readings reveal an interrogative depth."--Publishers' Weekl
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