Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Rushi Vyas

The book

When I Reach for Your Pulse cover image

In this electrifying debut, Rushi Vyas untangles slippery personal and political histories in the wake of a parent's suicide. 'When my father finally / died,' he writes, 'we […] burned, / like an effigy, the voiceless body.' In this tough and tender, gently powerful collection, grief returns us to elemental silence, where 'the wind is a muted vowel in the brush of pine / branches'.

These poems reach into this deep silence and bring back evidence of life as well as loss. This language listens as much as it sings, asking if it is possible to recover from the muting effects of British colonialism, American imperialism, patriarchy and caste hierarchies. Which cultural legacies do we release in order to heal? Which do we keep alive, and which keep us alive? A monument to yesterday and a path to tomorrow, When I Reach for Your Pulse reminds us of both the burden and the promise of inheritance. '[T]he wail outlasts / the dream,' but time falls like water and so 'the stream survives its source.'

'In this quietly powerful and moving collection Vyas inhabits the voices of son and father, excavating family histories, silence and loss. Through the laws of physics; through arias, the blues, raga, Hindi pop song, ritual, chants and prayer; across generations, languages and continents; with tough honesty and with tenderness, Vyas reaches for the pulse of life itself.' – Alison Wong


Rushi Vyas was born in Toledo, Ohio. He is co-author (with Rajiv Mohabir) of the chapbook Between Us, Not Half a Saint (GASHER Press, 2021) and his poem 'Morning Chant: Scatter' was republished as a broadside by the Center for Book Arts (US). He earned his MFA from the University of Colorado-Boulder and his BSc from the University of Michigan. His poems have been published in US journals including Adroit Journal, The Georgia Review, Indiana Review, The Offing and Tin House, and in NZ in Landfall and The Spinoff. In 2019, Rushi moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Ōtepoti Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand, where he now lives. Rushi is completing a PhD at the University of Otago and teaches on the university's Creative Writing programme.

Publication Details

230 x 150mm, 124 pages
ISBN 9781990048616, NZD$30
IN-STORE: September 2023

Reviews and Interviews

Buy now

Back to top