About the Book
The poems in The Owl and the Laughing Buddha bring a ‘lighthouse sweep of attentiveness’ to their subjects. This is a book about noting, from the title poem’s companionable but contrasting figures on a writing desk to the devastating aftermath of a cloudburst in the mountains, and from a flier’s eye-view to a walker’s – and a mole’s. Here are poems interested in gods and figures of myth, and in observing houses, trees, birds and other creatures in a changing neighbourhood; poems that talk shop with fellow poets and respond to works of art and culture; and poems that watch our responses to the daily catastrophes that sometimes constitute ‘news’ – whose interest is no less a matter of whimsy, perhaps, than some of the tales narrated in the final section of the book. Yet the poems rest on an implicit conviction that everything must be given its due and treated seriously – though not solemnly, for it is mirth, after all, that is the laughing Buddha’s centre of gravity. Treading margins between the real and the imagined, the concerned and the tongue-in-cheek, this is Menon’s third collection of poems.