LEAVING YUBA CITY (1997)
Before she began her career in fiction writing, Divakaruni was an award winning poet. She writes poems encompassing a wide variety of themes, including nature, history, myth, art. the immigrant experience and South Asian women, and focuses often on the joys and struggles of women trying to find their own identities.
Leaving Yuba City is unique because it includes series
of poems based on and inspired by various art forms, including paintings , photographs and film.
With these poems, Divakaruni once again shows how boundaries can be
destroyed, as she illustrates how different art forms are not
independent entities, but how they can, in fact, influence each other.
She begins with devastatingly eloquent evocations of childhood, then
moves on to imaginative and compelling poems
inspired by the photographs of Raghubir Singh, paintings by Francesco
Clemente, and films by Indian directors, including Satyajit Ray and Mira
Nair. In the final section, she dramatizes the circumscribed lives of
persecuted Punjab farmers who immigrated early in this century to Yuba
City, California. Strongly narrative, shimmeringly detailed, and
emotionally acute, these poems will stay with you.
Poems from Leaving Yuba City have won a Pushcart Prize, an Allen Ginsberg prize and a Gerbode Foundation award.
One of the poems in this collection, "Woman with Kite," has been chosen by filmmaker Yunah Hong-- to be part of her documentary film, Between the Lines: Asian American Women's Poetry. The film also includes an interview with Divakaruni.