World Hotel by Reetika Vazirani

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Born in India and raised in the U.S., Reetika Vazirani is at the forefront of a group of young immigrant writers who are questioning citizenship and the effects of migration and immigration on the discovery of one’s self. The topics she writes about—eastern culture meeting west—are both timely and timeless, as she demonstrates a love for storytelling, delights in the music and flavors of the world, and displays a subtle understanding of cross-cultural conflicts for women.

Divided into two sections, "Inventing Maya" and "It’s Me, I’m Not at Home," World Hotel gives voice to those who are struggling with the burden of being different while also experiencing the thrill of transformation. There are poems written in memory of family members, to husbands, to lovers, and poems from mother to daughter. Through her exquisite formal skills and linguistic range, Vazirani ultimately creates a home in poetry; for her readers she creates penetrating portraits and keen glimpses into a world which—for all its unfamiliarity—we recognize as strikingly similar to our own.

The Chapel Hill Rotary invited me twice,
and I wore Aunty’s yellow sari. I laugh,
for ten years I lived on a mountain.
I show them Mussoorie.
They say it looks like the Blue Ridge.
They’re fascinated by so much silk—six
yards on one girl—but I like dresses and
scarves, red nail polish, and I will
have to learn to dance. . . .
—from "Friday Mixer"

Born in India, Reetika Vazirani’s first book, White Elephants, was selected for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. She has received much recognition for her poetry, including a Pushcart Prize, a "Discovery" award from The Nation, and inclusion in Best American Poetry. Educated at Wellesley College and the University of Virginia, Vazirani serves as an advisory editor for Callaloo.


About Reetika Vazirani

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Vazirani is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the College of William & Mary.
Published October 1, 2002 by Copper Canyon Press. 112 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Foremost among those voices is the articulate woman (apparently based on Vazirani's mother) who tells her own complex life story in "Inventing Maya," a careful sequence that forms the first half of this book: its detailed short poems follow Maya through her north Indian childhood ("In the Himalay...

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