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Minal Hajratwala


Tuesday, March 6


The Writer’s Story: 4:00PM, Ness Family Lobby


Reading: 7:00PM, The Studio Theater


Poetry. South Asian American Studies. Buddhist Studies. BOUNTIFUL INSTRUCTIONS FOR ENLIGHTENMENT is the long-awaited debut collection of poetry by Minal Hajratwala, whose nonfiction book Leaving India earned four literary awards in 2009. Hajratwala's writing across many genres has always been rooted in poetry. This innovative book gathers poems and performance texts written over two decades including, for the first time in print, the script for her theatrical extravaganza Avatars: Gods for a New Millennium. In Avatars, which premiered at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in 1999, various invented and "real" deities duel for the passions of the audience. The poems in BOUNTIFUL INSTRUCTIONS FOR ENLIGHTENMENT are lyrical and scathing in their approach to identity, spirituality, and the catastrophes of the modern world. Hajratwala draws on her decades-long journey as a seeker wrestling the sacred and the profane, urging them toward intimate—and occasionally ecstatic—union. "She charms, sears, shocks and delights us," writes renowned poet Meena Alexander. Hajratwala's work has been lauded as original, electric, and explosive.