(shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020)
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A book of haibun (prose poetry).
‘Rochelle has the haibuneer’s gift of vivid succinctness: ‘Manojji is a curious man. His eyes and ears are always shifting.’ The author could be describing herself, who and what she is—her senses alive, feeding on each other, wanting nothing more than to capture our world in the honey-trap of words, a world that is slipping away from us:
autumn whirlwind . . .
a child grabs at her
‘The Anglophone haibuneers and haijin of India, mentors and colleagues acknowledged here by Rochelle, are making their mark on the literary scene and the mosaic they are creating with such palpable skill and joy will be complete when other languages of India join in the fun.’
‘There is something very unique about Paper Asylum that continues to draw you in. I dare you not to get to the end of this one. Every haibun poet has a unique style, and the work by Rochelle is no exception. She has found the core of the form and expressed it in a way that makes it her own. Some of the haiku in this collection would be standouts on their own, but when combined with her fine toned prose they just sing the haibun form. Her choice of topics is varied and sometimes startling. This is a book for poets, and especially poets who love haibun. The Japanese may have created the haibun form, but Rochelle Potkar has it at home in her world entirely. A wonderful read indeed!’
‘Rochelle Potkar is the ideal travel companion—adaptive, incisive, witty—and in Paper Asylum she invites us to pay closer attention to our surroundings, with delightful results. She takes the measure of the world in haibun and free verse, enlarging our perspective by yoking together unlikely things, reminding us that ‘everything grows, not just love, hope, and memory’. This book will grow on you. Enjoy!’
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