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the field of why by Shloka Shankar
Shortlisted for the Touchstone Distinguished Book Awards 2022

Note: For international orders, please click here to avail our publisher's discount.

What readers are saying:


Review by Jerome Berglund

Review by Michael Rehling, Founding Editor of Failed Haiku

Shloka Shankar’s first full-length collection of haiku is a powerhouse of layered mental imagery and has the potential to become an instant classic.” – Adam T. Bogar, Co-Editor of kontinuum: kortárs haiku_contemporary haiku (Read the full review here.)

“Shloka Shankar’s preoccupation with the tension between natural objects and abstract structures are dominating themes in her latest work, field of why. Shankar collects both haiga and bare poems, predominantly monoku, a format the poet excels in. The text reads like a microscopic creation myth, the poems moving from creation to specification into the individual, creating a picture of life as it is lived between the conscious and unconscious. It is the expression of a poet’s mind turned in on herself until she loses herself to the unanswerable, followed by a reconciliation with the external, through the body, dreams, the communal, and the godlike, until a final dissolution.”  Pippa Phillips (Read full review here.)

There’s something about the ways in which a few choice words can encapsulate an entire universe. Recent images of deepest space remind us that our own favorite blue ball of planet is exactly that itself. A smallness so big. A prayer on the head of a pin. Breathe in this collection, just under 60 pages, where a few words hold the cosmos. The poems in the field of why are epics. – Seth Copeland, Co-Editor of petrichor mag (Read the interview here.)

“Absolutely loved reading The Field of Why by the super talented Shloka Shankar, her first full-length collection of poems. Multiple themes are successfully interwoven into a vivid narrative that is both engrossing and touching at the same time. The inclusion of visual poetry pieces is a nice aesthetic touch. I highly recommend this fine read for lovers of verse. Hats off, Shloka, take a bow, my friend. Truly masterful!” – Ramanujam Iyengar


“This is the 50th book published by Yavanika Press, and I was thrilled that it was Shloka’s debut poetry book featuring haiga, senryu, haiku, and other creative forms. I’m blown away with Shloka’s poetry. It’s a powerful philosophical narrative that touches upon the author’s views on mental health, her disability, life, and connection to herself and the world around her. Each word is precise, and each poem is profound and invites the reader to interpret and add to the poem itself… like an unspoken, invisible collaboration between author and reader. Congratulations, Shloka! I’m so proud of you! I enjoyed this book immensely.” – Kathy Nguyen


the field of why will be a book that taught me the nuances of monoku. I have never been properly initiated into this part of haikai. There are many poems in this book that have left a deep imprint on my mind, including the quote by Friedrich Nietzsche that serves as the epigraph to the book:


ivory tower the shadows of loneliness


the routine of memory in a windowless room


filed under miscellaneous the will to live


with nowhere to go words collect in the tympanum


erecting landmarks in the field of why


The above poem is the cherry on the cake. The best of the lot, and a worthy title for the book.” – Ravi Kiran


“While reading the field of why, I held the book as someone would hold an exotic chinaware! At all times, I was concerned that the words so carefully curated may spill like pearls and I can’t put them together in the string. A few poems made me forget to flip the pages. God bless you!” – Tapan Mozumdar


“I so enjoyed my first reading of the field of why. It was a metaphysical, if not epistemological field trip leaving me more with a sense of wonder than “why.” Actually, the wonder is the “why,” that we even have a place for it, and I think you have captured where that is, everywhere. Your skill/artistry in bringing such wonder into the world, into cold type, is even more accomplished in that you make it felt.” – Ron Scully

“[The book] is so well made. I have read it once and now am doing so again. It is an unending delight.” – Mustansir Dalvi

“Shloka’s first full-length collection of thought-provoking ‘inventive’ microverse is about ‘finding’ – oneself, moments, struggle, thought, mind-benders, all that makes our lives worth living and writing about. It’s the everyday and the subtle beauty in its moments that draw the reader into the field of why.” – Geethanjali Rajan

“I received my copy of The Field of Why today–what a phenomenal book of poetry and art! Congratulations on your accomplishment. I will treasure it. You are gifted in so many ways.” – Pat Davis 

“I really loved your work! I love the questions it raises about how we look for meaning in our lives when the why can feel uncertain, when we are 'bcc'ing' ourselves, when we are standing in the wasteland, when memory and windowless rooms collide. Who is waving and who is drowning, indeed. But then there is the white butterfly, the landmarks, and those hopes filed tentatively under miscellaneous. Thank you, Shloka, for these honest words and images. I have found them companionable, inspiring, and sustaining. And I hope a new collection will soon be on the way!” – Darlene O'Dell

“I love the pace and depth, the tensile strength of these fragile and meditative poems. Also the provocative paintings that frame them sometimes.. The brilliant mix of art and sounds of the trailer will surely lead curious readers to this new collection from Yavanika Press.”  Daniel Lusk

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