For my current Intermediate Poetry Class, we are required to go to at least two poetry readings over the course of the semester. So, when I received an email that there remained only a few spots open for a reading and master class at NYU’s Creative Writing House, I signed up pretty quickly, mostly for the sake of completing my requirement for this class. The poet that was leading this master class was Yuyutsu Ram Das Sharma, a Nepalese poet who most recently authored “Milarepa’s Bones”.
I arrived quite early for the reading and found that I was one of two undergraduates in a small class dominated by Creative Writing MFA students. To be honest, I was eager for the reading to start and to finish so I could seek refuge in my bedcovers and Jane Austen’s Emma.
What I did not expect was to leave this event completely spiritually and creatively rejuvenated. Yuyu’s poetry, and even his lecture, spoke to me on a level that I didn’t actually know existed. To be honest, I had become rather creatively and spiritually disillusioned over the past few months. This reading, that I had treated with such nonchalance–i wanted only to get it over with–ended up being exactly what I needed in so many ways.
Yuyu writes about the earth, in particular the Himalayas. He writes of the staggering power of nature to bring us down to the ground, to destroy us, to inspire us to live, to heal us, to take everything away and give it back. The way he read his poems made them at once song-like and booming, reminiscent of the deep and drawn out syllable “Om” that created the universe
I was fully engaged for the length of his talk. The stories from Hindu mythology that he told us in between made me feel as if I was in my grandmother’s presence.
For me, this poetry reading was a spiritual experience. It made me realize that my relationship to poetry is, indeed, a highly spiritual one. I look for connections to the people around me, to the city around me, to the universe around me, when I read poetry.
One day, I would like to be able to convey, in my poetry, the kind of feeling and movement that Yuyu manages to convey in his booming yet lilting, universal and earthy poems.