“We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.”
– excerpt from “Small Kindnesses” by Danusha Laméris
There’s a wild energy to Danusha Laméris’ poetry – like the way a walk through the forest sharpens our senses. Whether describing late-night coyote howls or the wine-drunk and naked singing of a neighborhood friend, she sets her scenes with vivid precision. Before she wrote poetry, Danusha trained and worked as a painter – and she comes from a family of watchmakers, designers and engineers. Years and lifetimes of meticulous craft. So her artful and evocative attention to detail draws us into a kind of sensory connection. We are alive. We are there.
In her powerful second book of poetry, “Bonfire Opera,” Danusha takes us on a rocky journey through the heart and spirit. She tackles difficult terrain – the loss of a son, a brother lost to suicide – careful to examine complex feelings from all sides, but also eager to escape their grip. And here we experience colorful flights of joy, humor, desire and beauty. What is light without the dark? Love and loss, passion and grief, animal urges and human restraint – these emotions are opposite, but they often hit us simultaneously. They are connected. We are connected. Something we all need more of.
Danusha is the recipient of the 2020 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, and her poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Orion. Her first book, “The Moons of August,” was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Award. She teaches poetry independently, and is a Poet Laureate emeritus of Santa Cruz County, California.