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Train to Agra

Train to Agra

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Vandana Khanna


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
64 pages, 6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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About the Book

Calling upon two cultures, Vandana Khanna’s Train to Agra meditates on the effects of displacement and expatriation on the construction of a young Indian American woman’s identity. The physical journeys undertaken by the speaker reflect her inner journey from immigrant child to Indian American woman, struggling to find her place between India and America, Krishna and Jesus, samosas and hamburgers. The speaker constantly tries to recapture visions, smells, and sounds of her childhood and her travels, but cannot do so without imagination. Her memory fails her, so through metaphor she invents her past as it should have been. Traveling through her reflections on childhood, fate, faith, death, and belonging, she comes to accept her reality as a construct of lived memories and wished-for fantasies.


Vandana Khanna was born in New Delhi, India, and has lived most of her life in the United States. She attended the University of Virginia and received her M.F.A. from Indiana University in Bloomington, where she was a recipient of the Yellen Fellowship in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, Crazyhorse, Hayden's Ferry Review, and the Crab Orchard Review, among others. She lives in Los Angeles, California.


“Vandana Khanna's sensual, evocative poems sweep the reader away on a journey of family, culture, and spirituality. In Train to Agra, Khanna's deft language and bright, revelatory imagery bring both physical and emotional landscapes to life. This is a book of fevers and spices, longings and questions, motion and vision. Khanna's gifts as a poet are many, and she uses them to cross borders and countries, to bring alive ‘The India of Postcards,’ to fill in ‘colors, the smells, to translate to English. / To translate into the present, into beautiful.’ Vandana Khanna is not only a poet to watch; she is a poet to savor.”—Allison Joseph, author of In Every Seam and Soul Train