Folding a River, a collection of elegies, shows a pleasing range of free-verse forms that develop themes sustained throughout: loss, exile, myth, landscape. Kawita Kandpal’s poems are explorations of East–West cultures, taking her into an emo-mythic place not to be found on any map. Kandpal’s mood in Folding a River is melancholy, articulated with intelligence and grace, and her phrasing can rise to the level of proverb: “This time next year you will have evolved into an idea.” In its personal evocations of geographical and linguistic exile from the subcontinent, centered on a lost father, her work recalls that of Li-Young Lee, yet with a feminine perspective often haunting in its own right: “tenderly / taking back the mistakes of men.”
Kawita Kandpal is the author of numerous poems that have appeared in such journals as TriQuarterly and Puerto del Sol. She is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program at Bowling Green State University and lives in Detroit.