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The Borderlands of Asia: Culture, Place, Poetry By Mark Bender

Chapter :  Introduction
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The Borderlands of Asia:


Poems from Borderlands in Asia

Mountains, rivers, and steppes. These ecological features define the borders, routes of trade and migration, and the lifestyles carried out in the respective landscapes and waterways on the fringes of the Eastern Himalayas, parts of Southeast Asia, the eastern edge of South Asia, and the northern borders of East Asia (Weightman, 2011: 4–5). Since the 1980s, communities of poets have blossomed in niches across these variegated environments, producing countless poems. In this book, the first cluster of poems is from the uplands of Northeast India, the second from the rivers and hills of Upper Burma, and the third batch from the broken terrain of Southwest China. Then, a string of poems dots the margins of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau leading into the steppes of Inner Mongolia, with a final group coming from Mongolia.

Over eons, the areas represented here have heard a plethora of voices in Tibeto-Burman, Austroasiatic, and Altaic language families. The human dwellers in their midst have historically responded to the challenges of local places, shaping them in accord with their respective cultural means and aspirations. As these poems bear witness, the effects of