Manahil Bandukwala's Reading Recommendations:
In this past Covid summer, I exchanged books with friends. Instead of a hug as a greeting or goodbye, I borrow books that come with high recommendations. Books like Washes, Prays by Noor Naga and Handwriting by Michael Ondaatje sit on my bedside and I read through poems over and over again.
One book in particular (thank you Sanna Wani for the lend) is The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers by Bhanu Kapil. The collection is a series of questions Kapil asked women of Indian origin across India, the U.K., and the U.S. Questions like “What do remember about the earth?” and “Describe a morning you woke without fear?”
I’ve been turning these lines in particular around in my head: “the sea. I can’t help but let the sea: exit my body.” Kapil’s prose-poem style has me exploring a way of writing that is new for me. Answering these questions has been a powerful writing exercise when I’ve found it difficult to write anything.
Manahil Bandukwala is a poet, writer, editor, and visual artist. She has two solo chapbooks, Paper Doll (2019) and Pipe Rose (2018), and Sprawl (Collusion Books, 2020), authored with Conyer Clayton. She is on the editorial team of Canthius, and is Coordinating Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. Manahil's poetry was featured in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Fiddlehead.