The warp and weft of place—Bombay and Manhattan—and history—personal and Indian—plays out hauntingly in these poems. In locating how habit informs habitation, Bhisham Bherwani’s hand is, at once, sensitive and uncompromising. The fragility of grace is ever present, how it comes and goes; how it is sustained and destroyed. This book speaks with unerring empathy to the enduring mystery of human emotion.
Baron Wormser, author of Impenitent Notes
Bhisham Bherwani writes in richly detailed, lyrical and elegiac halftones the history of a family, a tribe, and an epoch. From a grandfather visited by Gandhi to the decaying streets of Bombay to the “tang of brine” to the sea as a “laundered sheet neither white nor gray,” Life in Peacetime documents the evolution of a consciousness that exists in a gray area between homeland and home. The poet incisively charts his journey to discover his own new world.
Jeff Friedman, author of Pretenders
With the help of his ancestors, Bherwani immerses the reader in a compelling narrative where history has the feeling of myth and myth the hard edge of truth. As the poet claims, “maybe I need to make / Charon wait on the shore while I plunge / into the black water.” Bherwani has done the difficult work of navigating the river Styx, of helping the dead to sing their songs, and in doing so he has honored the memory of his grandfather, a healer who plays an integral role in this book.
Todd Davis, author of In the Kingdom of the Ditch
Bhisham Bherwani is the author of The Second Night of the Spirit and The Circling Canopy. He is the editor of an anthology of modern and contemporary poetry in English, including translations, from India. He was educated at Cornell University and New York University. He has received scholarships and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Frost Place, the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Ucross Foundation, and the Jentel Artist Residency Program. He has taught literature at several colleges of the City University of New York. Born and raised in Bombay, Bhisham, a naturalized American, lives in New York.