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Amarnath Ravva

California-based writer Amarnath Ravva has performed at LACMA, Machine Project, the MAK Center at the Schindler House, New Langton Arts, the Hammer Museum, USC, Pomona, CalArts, and the Sorbonne. In addition to his writing practice, he is a member of the site specific ambient music supergroup Ambient Force 3000 and for the past eight years he has helped run and curate events at Betalevel, a venue for social experimentation and hands-on culture located in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. He holds a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.F.A. from CalArts, where he was awarded an interdisciplinary grant to help support his documentary work in South India.

books
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American Canyon

Kaya Press FORTHCOMING

Blending myth with interviews and first-person narrative, California-based writer Amarnath Ravva’s American Canyon uses prose, documentary footage, and still photos to recount the fragmented and ever-evolving story of one person’s apprehension of the ghosts of history. This narrative of a son’s love for his mother and the ritual he performs for her takes us from California to Rameswaram, the southern tip of the Indian peninsula. It is a meditation on the moments in history that placed him in front of a small bright fire, a lament for the continual loss of those who, by remembering, let us know who we are.

Poet and author Kevin Killian notes that American Canyon is “a complex reworking of memoir form, using the tools of poetry remelted, as in Vulcan’s forge, to slash away at the ghosts and ghouls of conventional prose usage. The new journalism, Ravva-style, stimulates the nerve endings with its alternately lush and spare renditions of some spectacular settings, William Kentridge or Gauguin or Florine Stettheimer should be in charge of the art direction when the movie, or opera, appears, but in the meantime sit back and enjoy the calm cool stylings of one of America’s finest young writers.”

For this work, Ravva collected documentary video and super-8 film over a period of ten years as a form of note taking. These videos also serve as a visual component of his readings.

 
praise

“Ravva unearths myths so gently and casually that history never becomes too grand. His story-filled days accrue power and a bit of magic by the end—my sense of ‘now’ became poignantly unmoored.” —Miranda July

“A mesmerizing and elegiac meditation on identity, nationality, and desire. Ravva coils narratives of India and the American West in on each other, telling a family history that is both fragmented and tender. A phenomenal debut.” —Colin Dickey

“In this book, words that are usually strangers to each other are invited into the same paragraph. They look at each other carefully, and the cluster of English words seated politely and obediently around the Telugu makes room for them. Now a bit of chatter begins. The words like the way the atmosphere is charged by a free exchange of vocabulary. This is what is meant to happen in our world at its best.” —Fanny Howe

“Magic and mystery reside in American Canyon—a place where the ancient meets the contemporary, and where the profane becomes sacred. In this elegant volume, Ravva composes provocative narratives of devotion and defiance that remind us that we are all migrants in mind and memory.” —Varun Soni

“American Canyon is a book like none I have encountered, an almost hallucinatory immediacy offered with rare generosity. Amar Ravva’s tapestry of East and West demonstrates the importance of remembering rituals and histories—those of both personal and social scale.” —Nancy Buchanan

Amarnath Ravva news

Kaya Turns 20 in San Francisco

Kaya Press celebrates 20 years of publishing innovative Asian Pacific American and Asian diasporic literature in San Francisco, April 16 – 19, in conjunction with the Association for Asian American Studies Conference. Kaya 20th Anniversary Reading at City Lights Bookstore | Thursday April 17 | 7:30 p.m. | 261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway Come to […]

Excerpt from ‘American Canyon’

The following is an excerpt from the beginning of Amarnath Ravva’s American Canyon, which will be published by Kaya this spring. JULY 23, 2003. 6:32 AM > 00:00:00:00 Ravi yells, don’t go too far into the water—it’s deep and the stones are slippery! At the top of the steps, he is looking through the viewfinder […]

 
 
 

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