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Dreams that Spell the Light

Dreams that Spell the Light

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Shanta Acharya's fifth full-length collection is gentle, poignant and unpretentious. She writes about real concerns with a directness and a linguistic tension which registers her Indian origins without being merely exotic.

"These are poems of intense joy, where the author is completely at home with herself, and at one with the natural world surrounding her."
Lakshmi Holmström

"She possesses an easy naturalness of voice that cloaks her sophistication, and in part the depth of her project, unconstrained by the narrow constraints of modernism... This is a fine book, to be savoured."

"There aren't any trivial subjects in Acharya's work. What I like about her writing is the integrity, the direct struggle with language to make it speak truly about real concerns."
R.V. Bailey, Edinburgh Review

"A profound receptivity to the world distinguishes Shanta Acharya's new collection. Her acute eye and keen sense of form depict the outer world in vivid detail, invoking the inner world where human experience makes its reality. Here is a poet of much clarity of spirit and a wondrous gift for evoking place."
Penelope Shuttle

"Her clear vision has purged her writing of extraneous sentiment... She cuts to the heart of things."
Peter Porter

"Reviewing Shanta Acharya’s previous collection of poetry, Shringara (2006), I had called it ‘a sheaf of grief, an elegiac volume about the loss of loved ones, through which a rawness of the pain still throbbed’. In the present volume, her fifth collection, we see her emerging out of that phase with the help of those precious resources which she has always commanded and which continue to sustain her in her diasporic life. These include a deep vein of philosophy which runs through all her poetry, a capacity for meditation that can draw peace, comfort, and hope from immersion in the simple phenomena of nature, remembered travels, vicarious journeys through the perusal of books and other documentary material, a wry sense of humour that does not abandon her even when she is clearly making a passage through tough times, and, of course, family loyalties and childhood memories."
Ketaki Kushari Dyson

"Her poetry shows a rare combination of lyricism, intelligence, sagacity and a wicked sense of humour. She is not afraid to take on the abstract, metaphysical, spiritual or to use the idiom such themes demand. It is refreshing to find these qualities in such an engaging and individual voice."
Mimi Khalvati

"Acharya… is generous with her reality, in every sense. Reading [her work] is an experience of meeting the poet."

"The variation and breadth of tone, ranging from the wry and playful to reflective and philosophical, is always engaging."
Maggie Sawkins, Artemis Poetry

Shanta Acharya was born and educated in Orissa, India and won a scholarship to Oxford where she completed her doctoral thesis on Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1983. She was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard before joining Morgan Stanley Asset Management in London in 1985. She has worked in the asset management industry ever since and is the author of several books on the subject. Since 1996, she has been the founder director of 'Poetry in the House' at Lauderdale House, Highgate, London.