Voyager (New California Poetry #31) (Paperback)

By Srikanth Reddy

University of California Press, 9780520268852, 144pp.

Publication Date: February 7, 2011

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Srikanth Reddy’s second book of poetry probes this world’s cosmological relation to the plurality of all possible worlds. Drawing its name from the spacecraft currently departing our solar system on an embassy to the beyond, Voyager unfolds as three books within a book and culminates in a chilling Dantean allegory of leadership and its failure in the cause of humanity. At the heart of this volume lies the historical figure of Kurt Waldheim—Secretary-General of the U.N. from 1972-81 and former intelligence officer in Hitler’s Wehrmacht—who once served as a spokesman for humanity while remaining silent about his role in the collective atrocities of our era. Resurrecting this complex figure, Reddy’s universal voyager explores the garden of forking paths hidden within every totalizing dream of identity.

About the Author

Srikanth Reddy is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago and the author of a previous collection of poetry, Facts for Visitors.

Praise For Voyager (New California Poetry #31)

“These recastings form a highly ambitious book of political poetry that speaks hauntingly of our world.”

— Publishers Weekly

“The paradoxical lives of historical figures have long inspired poets, a tradition Reddy embraces and transforms in his audacious, deeply interrogative second collection. . . . Nuanced yet piercing.”

— Booklist

“Through Reddy’s ‘erasures’ and the negative capabilities of his excavated text we feel, even if we cannot see, what’s missing, what’s gone—into outer space, into self-denial, into the ironies of history and of the role between the wielders of pens and of swords. We find ourselves—culpable, impressionable, alive—in the human space he has created.”

— Chronicle Of Higher Education

“Reddy has fashioned an arresting, very personal voice by committing himself to using only words and phrases that appeared in—wait for it—Kurt Waldheim’s memoirs. In lesser hands, this could have been just another preposterous “project” book. Reddy is so gifted that the poems, despite their weighty origins, soar.”

— New Yorker

“Instantly aphoristic, with the cultural authority of familiar music, Book One alone is enough to secure a poetic reputation. . . . Voyager is an indication of what is possible in the form. For its remarkable innovation, panoramic lyricism, and utter empathy, it may well endure.”

— Harvard Review

“Erasurists find their imaginative space by reading creatively. One of the genre's most creative readers in Srikanth Reddy. Not only is his erasure, the book Voyager, conceptually captivating, but the writing is amazing. Let me repeat that: the writing is amazing.”

— Believer Magazine

"An ambitious, richly imaginative work that poses vital questions about truth, authorship and narrative possibility in contemporary literature."

— International Examiner