cover image A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes

A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes

Madhur Anand. McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House Canada, North American dist.), $19.95 trade paper (102p) ISBN 978-0-7710-0698-2

Anand's exquisitely crafted debut poetry collection combines scientific, observational, socially conscious, haunting and reflexively personal, and almost Romantic strains into a cohesive, captivating whole. The publisher's descriptions of her work as "ecologist poetics" and her index as "a way of cataloguing and measuring the world and human experience" are entirely apt for this collection's seemingly effortless, deeply humanist sleight of hand. Through four sections of intricately constructed overarching narrative, Anand's attention to and ability to evoke explicit, exponential beauty in scientific and natural form are simply stunning. Evocations are most keenly felt in "Cosmos Bipinnatus" and "Held in a Fist," but are scattered throughout the whole. Indeed, from the volume's opening quiescences and meditations, deeply personal yet ghostlike, in "Somewhere, a Lake," to its cultural and familial recollections in "Two Jars," to its marriage of personal and scientific and logical forms in "Conditional B," to the perfect, closing encapsulation of theory and personal notes in the final lines of "Too Exhaustive to Survey Here," Anand's debut is in every measure a triumph. (Apr.)